PERSPECTIVE

Stewardship and Relationship

Relationship is undeniably part of the image of

our triune God. We are made in His image, and relationship is a gift to humanity in which, and by which, we may perpetuate

that image of God in us, to His glory.





We are made in His image, and relationship is a gift to humanity in which, and by which, we may perpetuate that image of God in us, to His glory.

God created the perfect

natural environment for humankind, which he proclaimed after every day to be

“good” (Gen. 1:3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). It is quite unexpected, therefore,

that we find a moment—the only one in the entire Genesis account of Creation,

where God proclaims something “not good.” Why would anything in an otherwise

perfect world be found “not good”?



We must rewind and

remember what had just happened in the universe: There had been war in heaven

(Rev. 12:7). In a perfect and holy environment, Lucifer had taken to focusing

on self, and felt the need to exalt himself over God (Isa. 14:12-15). In this precarious context, God created

human beings on planet earth. He sought to give us every advantage. His

immediate concern: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper

suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).



In the original Hebrew,

the verb hĕ-yō-wṯ appears in a form* which might be best translated as “to be”

or “to exist”—with “the man” as the object in this verse. A more direct

translation of Genesis 2:18 might therefore be: "It is not good, this

existence of man alone/to himself…" (Learn Biblical

Hebrew,
p. 145).

Could it be

that God gave Adam the best spiritual aid and defense against exalting self, by

giving him “another” to focus on? By creating Eve, and the human family, God gave us a way to

put self aside. He gave us the opportunity to “submit self” and demonstrate the

very image of God in us by developing godly selflessness through unselfishness.

That’s what Jesus came to do: “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did

not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking

the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found

in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of

death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).



Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”

Phil. 2:6-8

We are all exhorted to do

the same. We are to be good stewards of God’s image and character, for the sake

of our witness and mission: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being

united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the

Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete....Do

nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value

others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to

the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the

same mindset as Christ Jesus:” (Phil. 2:1-5).



An attitude like this will

surely change everything. If the characteristic of submission—of self for the sake of God

and others—is an important way to demonstrate God’s image in me, then imagine

how it will affect my marriage, my understanding of leadership, my idea of ‘my

rights’, our organizational structures and ultimately, our worship and our

witness! Sadly, we often

fail—individually, corporately—and we live as if God never created Eve for Adam

nor Adam for Eve.



Ellen White says: “Peace

and joy, in perfect submission to the will of Heaven, existed throughout the

angelic host. Love to God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Such was

the condition that existed for ceaseless ages before the entrance of sin” (Spirit

of Prophecy,
Vol. 4,

pp. 316, 317).



If perfect

submission
to the

“will of Heaven” was the way in which peace and joy existed in the sinless

universe for eternity past, will the same not be required for a sinless

eternity to come?

Good

stewards of God’s image who await Jesus' return will submit self—to God and in

favour of one another—in good practice for an eternity that begins in us as soon as we accept

Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, but not only that. When we learn the art of

the submission of self, and represent God’s image clearly to the world, we take

stewardship from the realm of mere responsibility into the realm of bringing

glory to God!

Penelope L.

Brink

Assistant

Director,

GC Stewardship

Ministries,

Assistant Editor, Dynamic Steward

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