Monday, August 19, 2013
The Stewardship of Creation
Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations,
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
( Matthew 28:19 )
We have a problem here in Whitehall! Our church parking lot is normally open to the public throughout the week, but on Sundays, we close the lot to all but our congregation. We even have a sign posted to this effect but people seem to just ignore the sign!
The verse above has been traditionally understood as an imperative to overwhelm with water any new convert to the Gospel that we disciple, or lead to a saving knowledge of our Lord. To be honest, though, this verse doesn't have anything at all to say about dipping them in water, or even just pouring water on them ceremoniously, much less repeating the action multiple times while muttering some mysterious catch-phrase.
When Jesus reminded His disciples, in Luke 12:50, that He was soon to be baptized ( leading to the demise of His fleshly body ), He did not mean to say that He was about to drown ( except maybe in His sorrows-Psalm 18:5 ), but that He was about to go through an ordeal that no mere man could persist through! He was ready to lay down His life for His Friends!
To baptize, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, means simply to whelm, whether it be with water, with the Word ( of God-Ephesians 5:26 ), or by 'fire' ( Matthew 3:11 ). It is with this 'Fire' that we deal today! Our lot, as our lives, is not our own, but belongs to our Lord, Jesus who became the Christ! He is the 'fire' with which violators will be baptized!
'Oh sure', you might say, 'just because I park my car here when the law ( sign ) says not to; God's going to rain down fire from 'Heaven'? 'I don't think so'! Well, no, your car probably will not be instantly vaporized by a giant fire ball if you don't obey our law ( although, this is not outside the realm of possibility ), but when you disregard God's Law, or even the just laws of His People, it's going to catch up to you someday, and probably sooner rather than later!
This is not to threaten, but to remind any violator that ignorance, purposeful or otherwise, will not be disregarded. We recognize, as the Body of Christ, that we are given the stewardship of His Creation, even if we've turned it into a parking lot; it's still His! We are His, and all that we have is His!
As His Steward,
Charles Haddon Shank