Make Yourself at Home


Today’s readings:
Psalms 24; 150, Isaiah 5:1-7, 2 Peter 3:11-18, Luke 7:28-35

What do people mean when they say, “Make yourself at home?” You can almost certainly feel free to sit where you like, use the bathroom, and get a glass of water. Maybe you could comfortably grab a snack from the kitchen, select something on television, and use the phone. But it’s never really an invitation to explore the contents of a nightstand, rearrange a closet, or throw out that tacky figurine collection.

The author of Psalm 24 tells us “The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,” including the people. That means everything we touch – the land, the sea, the forests, the animals, and even other lives – is in a home where we are as welcome as we can possibly be, but still don’t own. What does that say about how we should interact with the world?

We wouldn’t want to have to tell a homeowner who’d graciously given us the run of the place that we’d trampled their flowerbeds, taken an axe to the furniture, ignored the smoke alarm, thrown trash over the fence into the neighbor’s back yard, and beaten their pets and children. Not doing these things seems like the common-sense bare minimum of respect … but are we as respectful of the things – and people – God owns?

A steward is someone who manages another person’s property or affairs. In matters of business a steward is ultimately accountable to the owner, and in matters of the world we are ultimately accountable to God. When we pollute air, water, and land, we pollute God’s garden. When the rich toss landfills and industrial waste into the back yards of the poor, we are ungodly neighbors. When we exploit people and bomb our enemies, we exploit and bomb God’s children.

It is impossible to do absolutely no harm and right every wrong in the world. We will make mistakes. But if God dropped in for a surprise inspection, we’d want to be able to say we made our choices not for our own whims and benefits, but to steward his treasures to the best of our abilities.

Comfort: As one of God’s treasures, you deserve dignity.

Challenge: Pay attention to what areas of your state, city, or neighborhood suffer from poor stewardship.

Prayer: God of all Creation, please grant me wisdom to care for the things and people of Your world. Amen.

Discussion: How is stewardship related to divine justice?

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