These last few weeks I’ve been helping my grandson apply for summer employment. He is particularly interested in being a junior forest ranger. We discovered that the name has been changed to Stewardship Youth Ranger.
For me, the name change is significant.
The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines stewardship as, “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”
Seeing ourselves as stewards rather than owners makes a huge difference. Something that is ours, because we earn it, deserve it, inherit it, can be used as we choose. We can choose to hoard it selfishly for ourselves or destroy it. Or we can choose to be generous, using it to help others. When we understand our world, our time, our money as God’s gift entrusted to our care, our attitude changes. We know that wastefulness and selfishness will break the trust.
Bearing the name, Stewardship Rangers, these youth have ever before them the foundational statement: the parks, the animals, the people, are not owned, they are held in trust. The earth is not ours to ravage. As human beings it is our job to care for the earth, to work with the plants, animals and people. I may not appreciate all the new elements to the junior ranger program but this name change is important. It moves us from having dominion over this world to living responsibly within it. I am grateful for the name change.
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” (Genesis 1:26 The Message)