Fondation Claude Monet, France – photo by Veronica Reverse (unsplash.com). Note: This is not what our house currently looks like — I need a tad more time.
16 years ago, my family and I moved from L.A. to Cincinnati, Ohio. From living in a snug little SoCal condo to a rambling leave-it-to-beaver suburban home, one we could never have afforded in California. But a big house and big yard = big responsibility. At first, I liked mowing “my lawn,” but pretty soon the novelty wore off. Likewise, having a big basement was nifty (room for a workshop, ping pong table, gym equipment). But not when it flooded. Repeatedly.
Add in my passion for my work (writing, filmmaking, storytelling), and our home soon began to feel like an interruption, a chore. One I barely had time for.
But then something clicked: I realized this was my home, and how blessed I was (basement flooding and every species of weed known to humankind notwithstanding) to have it! For the first time, I began to think not just of upkeep, but of beautification—landscaping, painting, a new cupola for the garage roof. In short, I began to thank God for what he’d given us by taking pleasure and pride in caring for our home.
“Then the LORD God took the humans and placed them in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it. And whatever they called each living creature, that was its name.” And behold, I did name our wild bunnies “Flopsy, Mopsy, and Beakerhead” (don’t ask), and our squirrels…forget it, too many.
And it was good.
I knew about stewardship, that the earth belongs to God, and that we, like Adam and Eve, are merely its privileged administrators. I liked the concept, philosophically, but it always seemed a bit of an abstraction.
Until last Saturday.
We’d heard a heavy rain was coming. And that meant reinforcing the castle moat, i.e. the strategic ramp of dirt and powdered concrete I keep banked against the house walls so the rain will run away from our basement rather than into it. But then, as I was finishing up, raking my dirt all-pretty-like and sweeping off my front porch, it struck me:
This is stewardship. I’m not protecting and beautifying my house, I’m protecting and beautifying God’s house! Suddenly stewardship was no longer an abstraction. And yet, the funny thing is that rather than being demotivated by such a reminder, I’m more motivated than ever to care for
my God’s house. Because I’ve discovered yet another way to love and thank my Creator!
The only thing is, my wife keeps eyeing that weird fruit tree in the back yard…
You know, the one God told us to stay away from?