Time and again in the Old Testament, the spiritual health of the people of Israel and the health and well-being of their land reflect each other. God had given the Israelites their own land, a land of plenty and fruitfulness. Where is your “Canaan”? What are the unique beauties and distinctive features of the place where you live? Biology professor David S. Koetje provides insights into caring for our “place”:
Faithfully caring for creation requires us to develop a stronger sense of place. Place relates to the distinctive features of specific landscapes, habitats, and communities. Fields, forests, deserts, and ponds are obviously unique places with distinctive features … [A] critical first step toward redeeming our fallen relationship with our lands and their inhabitants is attentiveness to the distinctive natural and cultural features of places.
Faithfully administering our calling requires us to serve these places. The term most often used to describe our caring for creation is “stewardship”: management on behalf of a higher authority. Because a steward is subject to God, she cannot simply do as she pleases with creation. Furthermore, she cannot claim that stewardship only applies to certain areas of the Christian life, such as finances, and not to others. Stewardship applies to all our relationships within creation: land, water, and energy; ecosystems, habitats, and species; our places, our bodies, our work …
As we focus on the importance of interrelationships and our own embeddedness within creation, how then do we serve our places? Stewardship that is place-based has five essential characteristics:
Spend some time working through the questions in the text.
You are not where you are by accident. God has placed you right where you are—within his creation for a time and a purpose. What things can you do today to be his steward in your God-ordained place?