Are We Good Stewards?
On a recent trip I visited historic Nauvoo Illinois. While there I toured many of sites which have been painstakingly restored or rebuilt by the Church. Interestingly, each family home had an acre on which to grow gardens and cultivate the earth. These homes were small but comfortable and strikingly different from the flat screen TV filled domiciles many Saints in the U.S. enjoy now. The places of business were simple in construction and the town was truly a beautiful place. It was apparent that the early Saints carefully used the resources available to them. As I compared Nauvoo with modern cities, full of huge retail stores and fast food joints, there were obvious differences. It brought up some questions.
It is clear in our theology that the earth was divinely created. Our management of its natural resources is a sacred stewardship given to man from his creator. Brigham Young spoke many times on this subject, including:
The dominion God gives man is designed to test him, to enable him to show to himself, his fellows, and all the heavens just how he would act if entrusted with God’s own power; if he does not act in a godlike manner, he will never be entrusted with a creation of his own worlds without end.
LDS scholar and philosopher Hugh Nibley said:
Restraint is the watchword in dealing with God’s earth, the products of the earth are ‘to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell . . . to be used with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.’ We have a right to take what we need but when we would extend that right to justify taking things we do not need, that is extortion, and is expressly forbidden.
What do we really need?
Do we understand the importance of good stewardship and the consequences of exploitation?
What can we do today to be better stewards?