Stewardship and Sustainability

Stewardship and Sustainability

Stewardship and Sustainability

By Juan Carlos Carcamo

The images in Genesis 1:26 and 2:15 reflect two critical principles about stewardship and sustainability: God is the creator, and He delegates the care of His creation to us, for we are administrators of His creation.

With this statement as our starting point, we can reflect on its implications for our ministries. First, we must announce the importance of stewardship and sustainability. We can do this through various means, from preaching to workshops. Always, we will emphasize our dependency on God. We thank God because the earth has bountiful resources, providing all we need for our lives. Specialists keep finding new opportunities and innovating with new means to bring resources to the neediest. What ever we do, we must be stewards of everything. Regarding our Christian commitments, everything has been given to us to enjoy, but all things come from God.

Humility is the key to sustainability. We remember that we are not the owners but administrators of what we have. Stewardship reminds us of our limitations. We cannot plan as if we own everything. The full picture of stewardship includes material things such as money or facilities. But we also remember some of the most important elements, our time, lives, and relationships. When planning, we need to discern the Lord’s will for us in the use of all these resources. 

The second important thing regarding sustainability is to consider our limitations. We only own some resources, usually for a short time. The truth is we need to be wise in selecting projects, for we can only use limited resources. Therefore, we need to ensure a project achieves three essential elements. 

First, a well-defined project recognizes the communities needs, that is, where we live and work. We respond to real possibilities.

Second, a project is sustainable when aligned with our current skills and competencies. It is not a plan based on “Just something we want to do.” If Jesus was a project’s administrator, we would be sure He would have discerned God’s will, as He would see things from all angles.

The third aspect of sustainability is looking at the long-term impact. We need wisdom when choosing the specific area needing assistance. For a ministry to be viable, we need research that ensures the project will successfully bring in the community. It should bring changes, not just temporarily but for the long term. We create the base for future involvement while taking advantage of any previously successfully implemented undertaking. This may require reading reports and conversing with local partners. Don’t forget about other organizations and ministries. Supported by the Holy Spirit, prayer helps us to understand the long-term impacts.

When we implement a project, we must avoid three negative aspects. First, we do not create cycles of bureaucracy. High administrative costs within a small organization results in unrealistic financial resources when moving to the next phase. 

Secondly, we must not engage in excessive activism. This means avoiding tasks that diminish our limited resources without leaving anything positive for the people we want to help. If we carry out all the ideas coming to our minds, simply creating the sense that we’re busy, we will not accomplish the most important goals. And that undermines the project’s success. 

Finally, we don’t create dependencies since we don’t want the beneficiaries to be saddled with false expectations of extra money coming their way. Without even noticing it, they’re like prisoners trapped in a jail, even when they don’t see it.

In Genesis 37, Joseph is an excellent example of a good administrator. He acted according to the Lord’s will, making decisions based on God-given discernment. His was a commitment to sustainability. Because of that, he became a blessing to many people. Joseph created opportunities for millions of people to survive. May the Lord give us the grace and the wisdom to be good administrators committed to wise stewardship. May we be capable of adopting sustainability as an approach for our involvement, and, in this way, may we bless many lives in the name of Jesus.