Have you ever stopped to imagine life without trees? How much shade would be lost? How much fruit? How much oxygen? The fall colors that so many of us enjoy seeing would vanish forever, and our planet would never be the same. Trees are a magnificent piece of God’s creation, and something for which we ought to have a great appreciation towards God. If you ever stop to study a tree, you will notice that trees do exactly what God created them to do!
When God created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1 tells us that God made man in His image.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock
and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
We as human beings are the pinnacle of God’s creation. While all of creation glorifies God, we are the only creature in creation that was made in His image. God would not only make man in His image, but he would also give man the sacred responsibility of caring for creation (Genesis 2:15), As His image bearers, we still have that sacred responsibility to this day. And if we were to take a lesson from the tree, we ought to do exactly what we were created to do as well!
If we take our sacred responsibility seriously, we can remember some principles about being stewards:
- The Principle of Ownership - We do not have ownership over creation; we are simply managers. God owns it all.
- The Principle of Responsibility – Owners have rights; stewards have responsibility, which is to manage the owner’s holdings well.
- The Principle of Accountability – Stewards are accountable to the owner for how well they manage the owner’s possessions. We are accountable to God for His stuff.
- The Principle of Reward – Stewards who manage the possessions of the owner well will be rewarded as the owner knows they can be trusted with more.
God owns all of creation, and we have a sacred responsibility to manage what He has entrusted to us with great care. If we are going to manage all of creation well, we must start with stewarding our lives as God’s image bearers well.
There are so many things in the world that could pollute our soul. As Christ followers, we are reminded in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that “our bodies are not own, that we were bought at a price. Therefore, we are to glorify God with our bodies.” We are told in Philippians 4 to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, and Proverbs 4:23 tells us that above all else … to guard our heart, for everything we do flows from it.
If we are to take a lesson from the tree, and do exactly what we were created to do, then we will take our sacred responsibility of caring for creation seriously. It starts by guarding our own hearts as we care for our souls. And when we exercise great care over our souls to keep them from being polluted (James 1:27), then we will care about stewarding all of creation the way God intends for us to. Caring for our soul allows our hearts to be aligned with God’s heart. And when that happens, we will be great stewards of all that God entrust to us. And if we steward well, we will be rewarded by God (Matthew 22:37-38).