by Rev. Lisa Ahlness, Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship
You might have heard this story before: “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. God does some work each day, and declares it all good at the end of each one. On the sixth day, God creates humankind, and here’s where it becomes one of my favorite stewardship stories: “God blessed them and said, “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
God created the world, and us, and then said, “here – take care of this world!”
It’s a key stewardship story. I have lots of other favorites, too. Recently, though, as I contemplated which one to use for a presentation, a little light bulb went off in my head. (I love it when that happens!) What if every Scripture passage is about stewardship? What if we read every text with an ear for that connection to holistic stewardship, which – to clarify – is about all aspects of life (not just money) and how we care for them: spiritual, physical, emotional, vocational, financial, etc.
This thought was mentioned to our rostered leaders who attended the First Call Theological Education retreat at the end of January. There was some bemusement in the room, so I said, well, let’s test the premise. Throw out some Scripture passages and let’s consider them!
So we did. It was sort of like ‘stump the chumps’ on the Car Talk radio show on NPR. There was some laughter in the room as all sorts of stories were suggested, from Daniel in the Lion’s Den to Balaam’s donkey and all kinds of obscure passages, trying to stymie the theory. No matter what the text was we made some connection to stewardship.
I still appreciate the little light bulb that went off, and I decided to take it on as a spiritual discipline for the foreseeable future: to look at every Scripture passage I study through the filter of “how is this about stewardship?” I commend the attempt to you, too. Blessings on your Lenten journey.