by Kip Redick
We recently began an exploration of one of God’s abiding covenants, given to Noah and extending to the present. God made the rainbow to be a sign of this covenant, that no more would “all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:11). The covenant is made with Noah and established for not only Noah’s offspring, but “every living creature of all flesh” (Gen. 9:15). There is then a covenant between the Creator and all of His creatures, large and small.
An integral aspect of this covenant is the role that humans, as one of the creatures, play in walking out the agreement. The original relation between the human creatures and the rest of creation is described in Genesis 2:15, wherein God places humans in the garden “to till it and keep it.” Tilling in this case comes from the Hebrew meaning to cultivate, and also to serve. Keeping means to guard, to watch and protect. This verse establishes our relationship with the rest of creation as stewards: serving, guarding, and protecting. This is consistent with Jesus’ teaching, “the greatest among you will be your servant” (Matt. 23:11). Jesus, as St. Paul wrote, emptied himself and became a servant (Phil. 2:7). So our role in fulfilling this abiding covenant between God and all flesh is that of protector and servant of all creation.
Our exploration of this important topic is facilitated by reading a book by Norman Wirzba, From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World. Wirzba writes, “The point of faith is not to help us escape this life. It is, rather, to lead us more deeply into the movements of love that nurture and heal and celebrate the gifts of God” (1). Wirzba’s book looks at the role of humans as God’s stewards of His creation through careful attention to the Bible.
In the first week of our exploration we looked at the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30). As an exercise to better understand this parable, we thought of the talents, a medium of value, as children rather than as a unit of currency. What if the man going on the journey gave his servants his own children to care for while he was away? What does it mean to care for these children? What if the wicked and lazy servant responded to the master’s return saying, “Here is your child, who has been well fed, clothed and sheltered while you were gone.” But the master said, “You wicked and lazy servant, you should have loved, educated, and nurtured my child. You returned him to me just as I gave him to you; well fed, clothed and sheltered. However, I expected you to be a good steward of my child and you only did that minimally.” Through the lens of this parable we ask ourselves about our own stewardship. Are we walking out the covenant made between God and humanity? As Christians we have been given the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us in our daily walk. Are we paying attention to caring for God’s creation?
St. Paul wrote, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God… We know that the creation has been groaning in labor pains until now… not only creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:19-22). As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, we are the revealing of the children of God. We, the servants of creation, and creation itself, long together for this redemption that is already happening. If we walk out the calling that brought us into the Kingdom of God, and continues to lead us in our daily lives, we will fulfill our covenant and our role as servants of God, caring for His creation as He originally designed.
Join us in N.E.T.S. on Wednesday nights as we continue our exploration in the months to come!
(N.E.T.S.- New Covenant’s Equipping and Training School)
April 10, 2017
March 27, 2017
March 23, 2017