“Where your treasure is, there will you heart be also” – Luke 12:34
from Pastor Dave
Preparing for this year’s annual stewardship program, I have come to better understand that Stewardship: the careful and responsible management of God’s economy, ultimately, in the words of farmer, novelist and poet Wendell Berry, “turns on affection.”
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus warns the multitude against greed. He tells them the parable of a rich man whose land produced a bountiful crop. Having no place to store the harvest, he builds more and more barns to store his grain and goods. Saying, ”Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years, relax, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
In his Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in 2012, quoting his teacher Wallace Stegner, Berry stated that Americans have been divided into two kinds. There are “Boomers” and there are “Stickers”. Boomers are those who “pillage and run.” Stickers are those “who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” While the rich man did not exactly “pillage and run” like modern day corporate raiders, I think they are both types of “Boomers”. Their life revolves around themselves and what they can accumulate.
I believe the biblical testimony is clear. God calls us to be “Stickers”. There is a quality of life, an understanding, a knowing, that only comes to those who nurture an awareness and affection for “the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” For me, this life and place includes the local church: those who worship, pray and serve together. It is from this shared life and place that the stewarding of Creation itself is rightly understood. When you love someone or something more than yourself, you are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to leave that person or community of faith better off than when you found them. Berry is right, it does all “turn on affection.”