The Common Good
July 2005

Stewards or Sustainers?

by Lee Anne Litzsinger | July 2005

I found Jim Wallis'

I found Jim Wallis’ recent article "For the Heath of the Nation" (May 2005) disappointing. Besides the disapproving tone it takes toward more "fundamentalist" evangelical Christians, it came across as flawed on several points. What troubled me most was a misplaced focus on environmental protection. Throughout the article, there seemed to be some confusion between the words "steward" and "sustainer." God has charged us to be good stewards of the earth; it is part of our duty to use the resources God has given us wisely. However, at no point are we considered sustainers of the earth. We do not cause the tides to ebb and flow, nor do we govern the laws of physics or gravity. Sustaining is an action of the Lord: "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me"(Psalm 54:4).

Part of being a good steward means conserving resources, but it is not within our power to "renew the earth." God will be the one to make all things new. This does not remove our responsibility; rather, it redirects our focus to the only one capable of sustaining anything. As Christians, we should take a healthy interest in our world. Let’s just be careful to consider our theology before environmental protection.

Lee Anne Litzsinger
Chesterfield, Missouri

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