For the preaching
of the cross
is to them that perish
but unto us
which are saved
it is the
power of God.
I Corinthians 1:18 (KJV)
What a Wonderful World
Rev. Bradley J. Stevens
Tue, May 5, 2009
I see trees of green, red roses, too;
I see them bloom for me and you,
And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world.”
-- George Weiss, Bob Thiele, Louis Armstrong
As I view the canvas of creation, I cannot help but agree with the song and sentiment so popularized by Louie Armstrong. It is a beautiful, wonderful world. Yet it is a beauty that has strayed so far from pure and unadulterated that much of it is hardly recognizable as the same world which God spoke into existence.
While we traverse this earth as creatures in, among and part of God’s creation, we are challenged to live above it — above its greed and strife, above the reach for personal interest, self-satisfaction and immediate gratification, above participation as mere inhabitants to a position of dominion and stewardship.
We read over and again in Jesus’ parables that a good steward is expected to ultimately hand over that with which he is entrusted in a better condition or in greater abundance than when he received it. Yet as stewards of creation, obligated to work for its benefit and not toward its demise, mankind has cleared rainforests, hunted species into extinction, contaminated rivers and streams, fouled the air, wasted the land, and in manifold ways proven himself either inadequate for or disinterested in being good stewards of the creation.
Yet the greatest failure of our stewardship lies not in our attitudes toward the terra, flora and fauna of this wonderful world, but in our stewardship of the gift of grace through which we have been reconciled to the Creator and may once again walk with Him in the cool of the day.
Was it ever intended that the imago Dei endowed with dominion of creation should stoop to behave as a mere creature without reason or hope? Moreover, as the image of God, are we allowed to do and behave as baser instinct would dictate? Well, yes.
But we who are redeemed, bought with a blood offering and reconciled to our Father Creator, should live as more of the imago Dei than of the creation. We are no longer only the image of God but have become a dwelling place of God, called, blessed and empowered to live above the world.
The Psalmist wrote in the first verse of the first psalm: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” We are to walk carefully in this world, wary of the things and places and situations that would inhibit our relationship with our God and His relationship with us.
Be good stewards of the grace of God through Jesus Christ whereby we have been brought from the muck and mire of sin and the flesh. Don’t just keep the street clean, keep your yard clean. Sweep off your porch, clean out the basement and the attic, dust every corner, sort out what matters eternally and toss out what burdens your soul in Christ.
And as good stewards of that grace, we do not keep it to ourselves but pass it on to as many as will receive it. When they receive it as good stewards, then they will clean house and pass it on to as many as will receive it. And when they receive it...
Can you imagine the beauty and splendor of creation being lived out in the hearts of mankind? Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if all creation, especially the image of God, lived up to God’s design and plan. Now that really would be a Wonderful World!
Can you imagine the song we would sing on that day!
God bless you,
©2009 Bradley J. Stevens