Are We Good Stewards?

[ 1 ] Comment

by Brenda

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?

 

 

About Brenda

Brenda (Truth, Beauty, & BLT’s) is the mother of four tremendous children and wife to a very patient and witty man she lovingly calls “Buns”. She enjoys flying kites, thinking about things that make her brain hurt, and is pretty good with a slingshot. She spends her time searching for truth, beauty, and humor wherever she can find them.

One Response to Are We Good Stewards?

  1. Jendoop says:

    I will try to stick to my own life and not go too far down the road to condemning our society :)

    I don’t need very much, really. There are visions which I aspire to, where I live in a little cottage with an acre garden and not much else. But then my daughter has a project for school and I’m glad to have a ready supply of paper, markers, and paint. The missionaries call at the last minute and I’m glad I have extra food on hand, as well as extra plates and forks. There’s a futon in the basement that we don’t really need, but it is nice when family comes to visit or the ward asks us to house youth for various events.

    Coming from a family of farmers on both paternal and maternal sides of my family I feel like I have some kind of idea how important it is to take care of the land. Gardening is a part of our family culture that all my siblings subscribes to, even if they’ve left the church.

    As far as the consequences of exploitation – no, I don’t really have a clue. Just this morning my husband and I drove different cars to church because I had a short meeting afterwards and didn’t want my kids to have to wait for me. That extra gas meant less to me than inconveniencing my children for a few minutes. That’s just an example of how little I personally consider how I use my resources. But I do consider it, I care a lot about it, but honestly there are times it feels like a great ordeal to just approach the ideals. For example, this summer I started a garden at our new home. Spent money on wood and fencing, then bought dirt because we have horrid clay that won’t grow anything. Then I got organic seeds and plants. Now I have a pathetic garden that has only produced 1 jalapeno. To fix this I bought fish fertilizer, and will likely add more soil and miscellaneous to find some solution. In the end these may be the most expensive vegetables I’ve ever eaten. Where is the path to avoiding exploitation? That path is merky and complicated the longer you stay on it.

    So my answer to the last question is – I don’t know. I’ve tried many things,and still recycle, my kids wear hand me downs and we shop at second hand stores. But there are also things expected of us in society, like my daughter’s school project, which require extras. It ties me in knots and I eventually give up any major efforts towards good stewardship of my resources.

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