Saturday, February 16, 2008

Conservationalism Again

I loaned "Serve God Save the Planet" to a friend of mine, so it was out of my possession for a couple months. During that time, I talked about it on various occasions with a diverse group of people. I made choices for my house as I could make them. The call to be stewards became one always near the forefront of my mind, imposing itself in the periphery of my daily life.

Now that it is back in my possession, I was thumbing through it, recalling different aspects of the challenge that it offers, when I came upon the following passage, taken from one of the giants of Christian theological thought.

Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let hi so feed on its fruits, that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits it to be marred or ruined by neglect...Let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. - John Calvin

This last, "Let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses," represents an idea that has been moving me during this school year. Just like in the parable of the talents, where the master rewards the servants who worked hard with the amounts they were given, so every single gift, ability, possession is given me that I might be a blessing to others with it.

It is not unlike a parent giving toys to a child. The parent does not start off, unless they are foolish, by just buying a $3000 entertainment center or drum set or roller blades. First, the parent will get a simpler object, an introductory object, which will satiate the child's desire, but at the same time, will serve as a test to see just how interested, how serious, the child's original request was. The child's actions bear out true intentions; if the child cares for it, uses it, is willing to share it, then they were earnest in their request and a further investment would be prudent.

This idea is one of the causes of my current career struggles. I feel pressure, now that I know I ought to be sharing whatever I can do, to invest in all my abilities. I feel somewhat like a failure because I cannot come up with some brilliant idea that utilizes all of my personality quarks, each of my skill sets, and at the same time is a service to God and man.

I mean, I spent all of college honing my mind in the rigorous problem-solving structure of engineering, and teaching simply does not utilize that kind of technical aptitude. And a traditional engineering job denies my athletic nature and my social nature; I cannot sit in a cubicle all day.

So I think I finally came up with the perfect job. I am going to travel by foot (running, cycling, walking, hiking) from place to place, and clean the areas I go, while doing some sort of rigorous environmental study, and then show up in some place and have an amazing kitchen waiting for me where I will cook gourman meals for people I meet and design custom engineering devices. Oh and I am going to get paid for this. Who will fund this enterprise I have yet to iron out, since I just made this up.

1 comment:

dustin f said...

Hi, my name is Dustin and I work with a Christian environmental organization called Christians in Conservation: A Rocha USA. I saw your post about the book "Serve God, Save the Planet”, and I thought that you might like to know that our organization sponsors its author, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, as a "creation care evangelist." We would love for you to check us out at our website, You might also be interested in the website for Dr. Sleeth's book,