A Steward’s Prayer

by John Silvius1


Flourish Magazine, Fall 2009

1
Father in Heaven,dirt-in-hand
Thank you for Your abiding presence
At the dawn of this new day.
The glory of Your throne shines forth,
The heavens show Your wisdom on display;
And together Your Word and Your world proclaim: 2
This is the day which the Lord has made,
And my soul responds:
I will rejoice and be glad in it. 3

2
Thank You for life and breath at birth,
And my growth as a child upon this earth.
Parents that taught me to work in the sod;
Then, by faith, You made me a child of God.4
Held in Your hand, I’m a person of worth,
Heaven bound, yet for now a creature of Earth.
On the one hand I live in a vessel of clay
Who must feed on the fruits of Earth’s soil each day? 5
Yet the life of Your Spirit is burning within;
And my soul requires
Both the bread of Earth and the Bread of Life. 6

3
So please hear my thanks on this glorious day
As I lift them to You from this vessel of clay. 7
For the rising sun, and its rays as they race
To warm the earth in the right time and place, 8
And power each green plant as it grows and thrives
Joining carbon with water, making food for most lives. 9
And thanks for these sources of life-giving air:
Green forests, meadows, and seas do their share
Without cost, to sustain life on this lovely blue sphere.
And my soul inquires:
What then is my role while I’m living here?

4
For You are Creator Sustainer of all 10
You made Adam a steward by dominion’s call. 11
All sheep and the oxen placed under his care
To exercise dominion on the Earth everywhere. 12
Nothing withheld from Your sovereign call; 13
But men sought to be gods, and then came the fall. 14
Now broken relationships cloud every dimension–
Mankind against God, against man and creation;
God’s judgment and death loom o’er every nation. 15
And my soul inquires:
Will there be any hope for this generation?

5
Yes, our hope is in Jesus, the Savior of all,
Second Adam, lowly steward of His Father’s call. 16
Born with sheep and the oxen, and faced with much sorrow, 17
No place for His head,18 and a colt He would borrow.19
Though men sought to be gods and brought on the fall,
Very God became man to reconcile all–
Mankind with God, with all men and creation;20
It’s the Gospel of hope and reconciliation.21
Without cost to believers, Christ’s death brings new birth.22
And my soul inquires:
How should the redeemed now live on this Earth? 23

6
We should love our neighbor and not withhold good, 24
With hearts stirred by our Savior, we’ll do what He would.25
As we go, give the gospel to many lost hoards,
By our winsome deeds as well as with words. 26
Choose not to hoard treasures of silver and gold; 27
Wages drawn from the Earth through injustice untold. 28
Instead we must reach the weak, helpless, and poor
Who through media’s waves are as close as our door. 29
When sinners seek purpose in material worth 30
My soul realizes,
Christ came to reconcile them with God and the Earth. 31

7
But some say “give the Gospel, Good News needs the preaching;
If our neighbor is lost, how will creation care reach him?”
Yes, we must give the Gospel and not withhold good,
But our neighbor’s struggle includes his neighborhood. 32
He seeks pleasure, position, power, satisfaction;
And these wages are gained at great cost to creation. 33
Pity beast or mankind if they block his way
To his gains without ethics–only profits hold sway. 34
While creation keeps groaning and awaits sons of God, 35
My soul understands:
I’m both called to serve neighbor and care for this sod. 36

8
Yes, Christ came to Earth, reconciler of all things–
Mankind, creatures, and land need the freedom He brings. 37
So we share the good news, while Earth’s goods we conserve,
And our neighbors are won by the lifestyle they observe.
When they see that our joy is in Christ, not in things
They may open their hearts to what His Spirit brings. 38
And when they find this same joy, they too will pursue
Lifestyles that praise God while they give Earth its due.
So that together Your Word and Your world may proclaim: 39
This is the day which the Lord has made,
And let Heaven and Earth respond:
We will rejoice and be glad in it. 40

John Silvius is Senior Professor of Biology and the Center for Bioethics Associate for Environmental Ethics at Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio. He maintains a blog entitled “Oikonomia“.


1 “A Steward’s Prayer” emphasizes the steward’s dependence upon both God and creation, his or her respective roles and responsibilities toward the
Creator and creation, and the example of the Greatest Steward Whose incarnation dignifies the importance of material creation and underscores God’s intention to redeem it, in part through our lives and our lifestyles as stewards until He comes to redeem all creation completely. May the Spirit of God Who inspired “A Steward’s Prayer” help its readers to identify and reject unbiblical, sacred-secular and material-spiritual dichotomies that hinder worship and service to their Creator out of love for Him, for their neighbor, and the creation of which we are stewards after the example of Christ Who now works through us in His unfolding plan to reconcile all things to Himself.
2 Psalm 19; Romans 1: 20
3 Psalm 118:24
4 John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9
5 Genesis 1: 29-30
6 Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4
7 2 Corinthians 4:7
8 Psalm 19: 4-6
9 Psalm 104:14; 147:8
10 Colossians 1:15-17
11 Genesis 2:15
12 Genesis 1:27-28
13 Genesis 2:16-17
14 Genesis 3:1-7
15 Genesis 3:8-19; Romans 8: 19-23
16 I Corinthians 15:45
17 Luke 2:7
18 Matthew 8:20
19 Mark 11:2-10
20 Colossians 1:19-20
21 2 Corinthinas 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:13-18
22 Romans 6:23
23 Titus 2:11-14
24 Matthew 22:37-40
25 1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21
26 James 2:15-17
27 Matthew 6:19-21
28 Isaiah 10:1-2
29 Matthew 25:31-46
30 Luke 12:13-34
31 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
32 Mark 5:18-20; Luke 10:25-37; John 4; Acts 16:16-34
33 Ezekiel 34:18
34 Proverbs 15:27; 1 Timothy 6:8-10
35 Romans 8:18-22
36 Isaiah 58
37 Psalm 96-99; Matthew 11:28-30
38 1 Peter 3:15
39 Psalm 19
40 Psalm 118:24

Comments

  1. Larissa Malik says:

    I loved this, Dr. Silvius. Thank you for posting this. I hope to talk to you soon! Tell Abby I said hello! God bless, larissa :)

  2. You asked for comments, so two very brief ones. First, line 6 in section 2. I have come to believe the future for us with be the joining of heaven and earth (see NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope), not an easy thing to state. However, I think it really helps demonstrate that Christians aren’t ‘so heavenly minded we are no earthly good’. Secondly, line 9 in section 6 sounds a bit judgemental, since we are all sinners and have materialistic tendencies, and I know you are well aware of this. I might suggest replacing sinnners with I, and then start the next line ‘Help me to realize’.
    All in all, John, a wonderful job. Thanks!

  3. Tammy Deemer says:

    Reading this poem stirs me to pour forth praise to my Creator! I never tire of marveling at His works, yet as I daily learn more about the ecological suicide we are inducing, I am forced to stop this joyful contemplation and ask unpleasant questions instead. I Cor. 4:2 says that it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful. As a teeneager, though I was by no means a “goody-two-shoes,” I wanted to be worthy of my parents’ respect. The thought that my actions might cause them pain was a huge motivation for me to try to do what they wanted. I don’t desire to cause my loving Heavenly Father pain. The big question is how do I know what my role should be?

    I was privileged to attend the Urbana missions conference at the end of December. I cannot get Lowell Bliss’ challenge out of my mind: “How many of you have prayed for Copenhagen?” I had to admit that though I had tried to follow the daily updates on the conference I cannot say that my interest was joined to prayer. I learned much about the devastating effects that the developed-world’s shifting of our environmental dirty laundry onto the rest of the world is having mainly on the poorest and most helpless people. It seems to me that it is fitting and just for some rules to be made so that this doesn’t happen. “A Steward’s Prayer” is exactly the heart cry we all ought to be uttering as we ponder these questions. Citizen stewards who rightly discern God’s voice are now needed more than ever.

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