...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sabbath Rest: on Being Stewards of the Earth

How many of us have childhood memories of helping grandparents and parents harvest food from the earth, maybe even perching our little feet on a fence rail and watching as adults tended animals like chickens and cows, creatures whose lives became part of our own in more ways than just as the entree on our dinner plates? Not to sound old, but--my how times have changed!

Rarely ever do I turn political on this blog, but one issue is dear enough to me--in fact is the heartbeat of this blog--that I make mention of it as a devotion just this once. Power and politics are changing the very essence of our God-given commission to be stewards of the earth, changing the tools we have. Modern science partnering with business capital, this pairing is mutating seeds such that a small grower's independent sustainability based on the natural law of seed retrieval from his growing crops (which is, incidentally the very reason those fruits and vegetables hang on the vine) this is gradually, almost secretly, becoming illegal. The "new way" means one generation of seed creating one generation of plant and nothing more. For more seeds, a grower will not be able to simply go to the garden and preserve the best plants' seeds. One must go to the chemical lab instead. We've learned to abhor human slavery, but enslaving the earth and its other creatures: this is simply good business.

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15
What a beautiful assignment! And while man's task now involves the sweat of his brow, there are still so many intimate gifts between God and man in this arena--if man respects God's part in the arrangement.

Take the gift of the subtle scent wafting up from live Baby's Breath. Lean in and breathe deep--you'll see where it gets its name! That God should offer something so lovely and tender to teach us about His nature, such snippets make blatantly true Paul's words to the Romans:

From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. Romans 1:20-22

Many have decided that God's invisible qualities are not displayed for our benefit through the sky and the earth but rather that such offerings are rather a random development. Those "foolish ideas of what God is like" we see even now. And yet, for some of us, the hope remains that eternal power and divinity continue to be the Lord's domain. We still hear Him ask:

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom [his] lord shall make ruler over his household, to give [them their] portion of meat in due season? Luke 12:42

And because we believe, we continue to take our humble steps to be stewards of the visible.

To read more on what prompted these reflections on this weighty task of stewardship, consider the heartache featured in the article linked below. Then re-read the verse from Luke and ask yourself whose heartache you're feeling. Might it not be the ache of the God who makes the nourishing rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike? Does He not grieve over how far we have drifted from His life as it is given symbolically through nature?


As for me, I pray I will ever be counted as on one of those wise and faithful stewards, planting my heirloom garden, knowing I'm just a small part of an age-old tradition that personal wealth and power have no business interrupting.


  1. You are a good steward that I look up to very much... I have much respect for you and other friends who have so much love and appreciation for what you do in the garden.

  2. Thanks much for the compliment, E. I mostly do it because I enjoy it so much, but sometimes it hits me that it has its spiritual implications, too.