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Genesis 1:1–2:15

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (2:15).

Paul’s discussion of the collection of funds to support the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8–9) touches on important issues in the Christian life such as giving and generosity. Of course, these topics are frequently addressed in Scripture as a consequence of our call to be stewards of the resources with which God has blessed us. That we might have a better understanding of the Bible’s teaching on our resources and our stewardship of them, we will now take a break from our study of 2 Corinthians and base our next week of studies on Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teaching series To Whom Much Is Given.

We have spoken of resources thus far, not simply money, because stewardship involves far more than just being careful with how we spend our dollars. The broader field of economics that has implications for stewardship really involves the management of all our resources. In one sense, almost everything is an economic issue because almost everything we have is a resource. This involves everything from property to our talents to our time and much more.

Looking at the derivation of our English word economy can help us put such considerations in the proper perspective. This English term comes into our language from the Greek as a transliteration of oikonomia, which means “house law.” The house law in ancient Greek culture referred to the various affairs of the household. These affairs were managed by the steward of the house, and he was hired by the owner to take care of the owner’s resources. The steward did not own the resources himself, but he was charged with taking care of them as if they were his own.

This arrangement actually reflects how the Bible describes our roles in creation. Because God made everything, Scripture reminds us that He owns all things (Ps. 50:10). Consequently, everything we own ultimately belongs to Him and we are but stewards of it, called to manage it as if it were our own but for the Lord’s glory. Today’s passage confirms this in telling us that the Lord placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to “work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). The idea here is that they were to take care of the garden, to use its resources wisely to provide for themselves and to serve God. They were to protect and preserve the garden, aiming to increase its productivity. By doing so, they would be good stewards (Lev. 19:23–25; Prov. 13:22; 1 Cor. 9:7).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

We are accountable to God for how we use our resources because ultimately they are His resources. We are called not to be reckless and wasteful with what we have but to be careful stewards who use what the Lord has given us for His glory. Every budget decision we make, every dollar we spend, every activity we plan is a part of God’s call that we be good stewards.

For Further Study
  • Proverbs 20:21
  • Matthew 24:45–51
  • 1 Corinthians 4:2
  • 1 Peter 4:10–11

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From the November 2021 Issue
Nov 2021 Issue