We Are Stewards, Not Owners

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2019 17 Apr

An image of a glass sphere reflecting the greenery surrounding it.

Many years ago I purchased a piano, fulfilling a childhood dream to own an instrument I had always wanted to learn how to play.  I took lessons for several months but made slight progress. After awhile the piano became nothing but a lovely piece of furniture. Contrary to what you might suspect, I never regretted that purchase.

Two years after splurging on the piano, I adopted my first child. I didn’t realize that this baby would soon show signs of a prodigious gift. When Katie was four she started playing piano and by the time she was seven she was spontaneously creating beautiful compositions of her own. Clearly, the piano had been meant for her.

Creativity is highly prized in our culture and in many cultures throughout the world. Laws have been forged to protect artists, musicians, and authors whose creative properties enrich society.

As wonderful as it is, human creativity is limited. Though God is good at making something out of nothing, human beings need something in order to make something else, using pre-existent materials like paint, canvass, musical instruments, or words to display our artistry.

Though no one questions an artist’s right to her own work, we often take a different attitude toward what God has made. Though we may pay lip service to the beauty of God’s creation, we rarely think of it as his. Instead of acting as his stewards, caring for the world he made, many of us exploit it without regard to the fact that it doesn’t belong to us.

Consider how animals are routinely abused on large corporate farms to maximize profits. Some farmers breed chickens in conditions of extreme filth. Because of genetic manipulation and the use of hormones, broiler chickens can grow so rapidly that their legs and organs can’t handle their increasing bulk. Many die of heart attacks or become crippled under the burden of their own weight. Laying hens are often crammed into cages so tightly that their beaks are partially cut off to keep them from pecking each other to death in their frustration. Most of us would be outraged if we saw how some animals are treated in large, corporate farms across the country. Surely the systematic abuse of God’s creatures can’t be pleasing to the One who in Genesis 1 repeated after each phase of his creative work,

 It is good

 It is good

 It is good.

As creatures whom God loves, we need to realize that we are called to care for the earth God made. Let’s ask for the grace to be the kind of stewards he needs so that one day he will say of our work on earth: it is good, it is good, it is good.