The importance of stewardship
by Dan Rogers (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider our responsibility towards the Earth.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a reader for the Bible passage Psalm 24.1: ‘The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’
- Optional: you may wish to have available images of the items (or similar items) mentioned in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3, in which case you will also need the means to display them.
- Ask the question, ‘Does anyone know what “stewardship” means?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘stewardship’ as ‘the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property’.
- Explain that in the past, when people owned large estates that they could not manage by themselves, some of them would employ a steward. The steward would run the estate as if it were their own. Stewardship is about how we care for things that belong to other people.
- Ask the students to think about the following questions. You may wish them to discuss the questions with other students sitting nearby or simply consider their own personal reactions.
- Would you lend someone your new mountain bike? How would you feel if they did not take care of it?
- If you were older and owned a Porsche, would you lend it to someone? How would you feel if they did not take care of it?
- How would you feel if you lent your lesson notes to someone and they wrote all over them?
- How about if you lent someone some clothes and they gave them back dirty?
- How about if you asked someone to feed your cat while you were on holiday and they forgot?
Point out that we would only allow people to borrow our most precious things if we completely trusted them.
- Christians believe that God made the world in all its beauty. They believe that God gave it to people to care for. Ask the following questions:
- If the Earth belonged to you, would you have given human beings responsibility for taking care of it?
- How would you feel about the state it is in as a result?
Time for reflection
Ask the reader to read the Bible passage Psalm 24.1: ‘The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’
Christians and people from other religions believe that this is true. Just as we show respect for our friends by taking care of their belongings, they believe that we can show respect for God by taking care of the Earth that he has given us to live in.
Ask the following questions, giving time for reflection after each one.
- Do we care for others and their belongings? Do we treat people and their belongings with respect?
Pause to allow time for thought.
- Do we care about the world in which we live? Do we treat it with respect?
Pause to allow time for thought.
Let’s decide to give others the respect we would like them to give us, and to give God’s creation the respect that it deserves.
‘The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’
Help us to live with respect for the Earth:
To care for it and for each other.
To use only what we need, not what we want.
To consider the needs of people living far away and nearby.
Help us to remember that the Earth is ours, on loan.