I get an immense sense of peace when I’m in nature, preferably in the mountains amidst a grove of trees. I love the towering heights of the redwoods as they sway and creak in the breeze, the sounds of birds warbling and insects buzzing nearby. It fills my soul with a deeper sense of God’s nearness. One of my favorite places to experience this “oneness” with nature is Fasting Prayer Mountain of the World. An ostentatious name, for sure, but it is a marvelous place to sit, think, and ponder on the nature of who I am and what God has in store for me. In difficult times, I’ve spent some nights in their facilities, walking and praying by day among the redwoods and fasting and journaling at night–some of my most distressing moments have been put into perspective in those redwoods.
In Genesis 1:28 (NLT) we find the following command from God: “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” I like the NLT version the best because it talks about governing whereas other versions use the word “rule”. Governing is very subtly different. It implies a stewardship and a reciprocal relationship.
The Greek word for govern is kubernan which means ‘to steer.’ You steer a ship through the seas but you also depend on the ship for your locomotion and, indeed, your very safety when dangers threaten. On a ship, attention is paid to keeping it maintained in the best shape possible, because you know you rely on it. Often the captain of the ship is not the ship’s owner. The captain stewards the passage of the ship, its crew, and its cargo on its journey.
Hugh Whelchel, in his excellent article on stewardship talks about four basic principles of stewardship including ownership, responsibility, accountability, and reward. It’s not surprising, therefore that God has hardwired us to enjoy ourselves in that stewardship. That is, when we are close to the thing we are commanded to steward then we should feel a sense of satisfaction and delight in stewarding it.
National Geographic has posted an article on how science is now proving that to be true. To me science and the Bible are complementary, it’s a beautiful reminder of how science is meant to show us how God did it just as the Bible is meant to tell us why God did it. Science is saying that we are hard wired to enjoy nature. The Bible says that God has commanded us to steward nature. Not surprisingly, because He is a merciful and loving God, He designed us to steward nature.
In keeping with Relate 20/20’s mission, as stewards, we have a relationship with what we are in charge of. How is your relationship with the natural resources of which you steward? What conversations have you had with those in your charge (family, friends) about stewarding nature?
Don’t get me wrong here. This is not some long-winded diatribe to hug trees (although talking to them might help). It is a reminder for us to steward that which is not ours for not only ourselves and our children (the future stewards) but also, ultimately, God. We will have a reckoning when the Master returns on how well we performed our job.
I am, however, strongly recommending that you go walk in the woods, on the beach, or by the lake, in order to delight and rest in your stewardship.