Monday, September 01, 2008

The Irrisistible Revolution, Part 1

Over and over, when I ask God why all these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, I can feel the Spirit whisper to me, "You tell me why we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet."
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution

2: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.
(Merriam-Webster Online)

Shane Claiborne lives in an intentional community in Philadelphia called The Simple Way, and The Irresistible Revolution is his expression of what it means to be a faithful steward.

I picked the above quote to start off this blogging experience because it "defines" stewardship so well. You are my body, my hands, my feet. In those few words, we hear the call of God on our lives, as followers of Christ, to live out our faith instead of just believing it.

1. When Paul talks about spiritual gifts, he begins with the illustration of a body divided into many parts:

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-20)

Paul explains that spiritual gifts are like this, in that we all have a function in the Kingdom of God, and just because you're a little toe doesn't mean you don't. In other words, you might have a gift that you don't care for, or you might think it's insignificant. First, there are no insignificant spiritual gifts, except for the one that is done without love (see 1 Corinthians 13:1). Spiritual gifts (charisms or charismata) are given to believers by God to do His work here on earth. Second - if you don't like the charismata you've been given, get over it or pray for another gift. I'm not saying God's going to take it away and exchange it for a new one, but it doesn't hurt to ask. But God gave you that gift for a reason, so the prudent thing would be to look for that reason.

2. As God's Body, hands, and feet, we are the ones entrusted to care for His Creation. Sometimes bad things happen because shit happens, but more often, it's because people suck and don't do the right thing. If we who believe in Jesus don't do something to correct these problems, we have to answer for our poor stewardship. Why am I tired and grumpy? Because I worked when I should have been resting. (Hey, God rested too) Why is my next-door neighbor eating so little? Because I didn't buy her some groceries so she and her kids could eat. Why didn't that small group in my church get started? Because I didn't want to use my gift of teaching to teach the interested people.

We allow bad things to happen because we are horrible stewards. God has given us responsibilities, and we don't take them - or Him - seriously.


Eric Hadley-Ives said...

You might be interested in these thought-provoking articles from decades ago:

Garrett Hardin's famous 1977 essay The Ethical Considerations of Carrying Capacity, and also this controversial essay about famine relief.

steph said...

Thanks for the links, Eric.