Dear Creator Family,
The hot days of summer are almost behind us with the nights cool, announcing the gentle transition to Fall. Falling leaves and a somewhat (if not illusional) slower pace of life helps as we calmly set in to handle the end-of-year chores and begin our planning for the new year to come. Each year I wonder about how early it feels, but in truth, I began planning the new year even as the summer started.
For the church, planning in the Fall is filled with dreams and realities, hopes, and the everyday concerns of our ministry. No matter what has transpired, COVID, earthquake, or election, Christians look forward with purpose and confidence partnered with the God of Creation. Dr. John Koessler, professor emeritus of the Moody Bible Institute, wrote,
The Bible’s theology of stewardship is grounded in the creation account of Genesis. Adam’s job description had two dimensions. He was placed in the garden “to work it and take care of it” (Gen. 2:15). The call to “work” the garden points to our responsibility to manage God’s resources strategically. This is labor that produces fruit (cf. Gen. 2:5). The other dimension of Adam’s charge was to keep or “care” for the garden. This is a call to guardianship.
The calling of stewardship did not belong to Adam alone. Eve was created to be his co-laborer in this task, and together they were given the responsibility of exercising “dominion” over God’s creation (Gen. 1:26–28). Dominion involves acting under God’s authority and in His stead. Mankind acts as God’s agent with respect to creation. Professor of Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary, Sidney Greidanus observes, “Genesis 1 proclaims that we were created in God’s image, that is, we are God’s representatives in this world. As images of God, we may manage this kingdom on God’s behalf.”
Here Dr. Koessler is explaining that the Christian understanding of Stewardship begins with God in all things. As we plan for the new year and reflect on our gifts to the Church, it is tempting to start with thoughts of budgets and expenditures; rather we must always start with God. As we pray and contemplate our Stewardship commitment to God at our beloved Creator, we are grounded in the Creation story, the Salvation story, and the Evangelization story. Our decisions honor God as we live God’s stories in partnership with our Creator.
Peace in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†