Stewarding the Common Good
Jesus taught, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Matthew 22:38
In Genesis 4, God asks Cain the whereabouts of Abel, his little brother whom Cain has just murdered in a jealous fit. Answering God’s question, Cain snarkily retorts, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The correct answer for Cain is, “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.” And the principle applies to us, too.
Woven through Scripture is God’s clear priority that we love and care for one another. The imperative finds the clearest expression in the life and words of Jesus, who repeatedly teaches us to love everyone – friend, family, neighbor – even enemy. No exceptions.
Love for neighbor is a stewardship issue because we are responsible to care for all that God has entrusted to us, including community, relationships, and the welfare of others. Stewarding the common good is an essential component.
As North Americans, we haven’t done a very good job of stewarding the common good because our culture teaches us to “look out for number one,” as opposed to looking out for everyone. Consider how much of our political division and brokenness in criminal justice, education, healthcare, economics, and government results from our thinking “what’s good for me,” rather than “what’s good for everybody.”
Stewarding the common good often involves giving up some measure of what would be good just for us. We sacrifice out of love to provide what is good for our neighbor. Is anything more Christian?
This year, especially as politics and division have embroiled and divided our country, study how the theme of loving our neighbor and stewarding the common good is woven through Scripture. What does it mean for you and the church? Think. Pray. Act.
Copyright © 2020, Rev. Robert Blezard. Pastor Blezard serves as an assistant to the bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA, and works as a content editor for www.stewardshipoflife.org. He blogs at www.thestewardshipguy.com
Stewardship encompasses so much more than money. It is a way of life. It calls for integration between our faith and the way that we live our lives. According to Clarence Stoughton, former president of Wittenberg University, stewardship is everything we do after we say, “I believe.”
“Stewardship is a matter of the heart. My stewardship practice is a response to the boundless love God first showed me. It means that I am grateful for all that God has generously entrusted to me. As a faithful steward and child of God, I understand that (the) decisions I make, in all aspects of my life, reveal my priorities. It is a privilege to share time, talents and finances, to care for God’s earth and to serve my neighbors. Being a good steward has brought me great joy and has helped me grow spiritually. I am blessed to be a blessing.”
KATHY FISCUS Faith and Finances Ministry Team Chair, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
The EcoFaith Network of the Northeastern MN Synod
Living out God’s call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation
CREATION CARE GREEN TIPS
Scientists have long stated that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, but recent data from NASA shows that the region is now warming at nearly three times the global average. According to researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, temperatures occurring in the High Arctic during the past 15 years were not predicted to occur for another 70 years. During May, parts of Siberia saw an average monthly temperature that was 18 degrees F above average for the month, according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service. Persistent warmth in the Arctic has helped to fuel wildfires and pest outbreaks, eviscerate sea ice and destabilize homes and buildings due to permafrost thawing. Thawing permafrost also led to a massive oil pipeline spill and has the potential to release huge amounts of greenhouse gases trapped under the frozen ground. Scientists from around the world are in agreement that man-made global warming from fossil fuels is driving many extreme weather events and climate change. Now it is up to us to pay attention and insist that our leaders move to implement clean, renewable energy.