Day 1 of 7

Empowerment


Genesis 1:26-31

26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Pray:

God, we thank you for creating us in your image and likeness, and declaring us very good. We also thank you for empowering us to be good stewards of your handiwork. Remind us of the privilege and responsibility of being blessed as stewards, made in your image and likeness.

Reflect:

The sixth day of creation, when humanity was formed, is the only time God declares that what was made was very good. Humanity is exclusively created in God’s image and likeness. While humanity is a part of creation, it is distinguished from the rest of creation. Humanity is tasked with subduing the earth and ruling over it. Only humans were given the task and privilege of ruling over God’s handiwork. Humanity has been uniquely created and empowered to steward God’s creation. God has given us every seed-bearing plant, fruit-bearing tree, and green plant for food.

We oftentimes lose our way. We frequently forget who, and whose, we are. We fail to fulfill the divine assignment we have been given (stewarding the earth). Old Testament scholar Victor Hamilton writes that humanity “is to subdue and rule over the remainder of God’s created order. This is not a license to rape and destroy everything in the environment. Even here he who would be lord of all must be servant of all.” As humans, we have a responsibility to care for, protect, and cherish the earth. We are dependent upon the earth. We only have one.

Creation care is not a liberal issue, it is a Christian responsibility. Romans chapter 8 tells us that creation groans in anticipation of its restoration, and our lack of faithful stewardship exacerbates its groaning. Rather than practicing Sabbath, and the year of Jubilee, both of which were designed to give creation a chance to renew and revitalize itself, we all too often tax and pillage the earth, taking, extracting, and reaping from it everything that we possibly can, without regard for its health. The maximization of profit and our personal luxuries have ordered our interaction with creation, more so than the divine commission to steward, care for, and subdue creation.

Thank God there is grace. And, in this grace, there is an opportunity for us to turn from our selfish ways and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live in peace with creation. We are privileged to be the stewards, servants, and defenders of what God created as good.

Respond:

Recycling, composting, and gardening are all practical ways we can begin the process of faithfully stewarding creation. Which of these do you already do, and which one may God be asking you to begin practicing?

When given the task of subduing, it is easy to blur the lines between dominion and domination. What are some spiritual practices that your community can employ to hold one another accountable to being good stewards?