Stewardship is good @ ICC – 4th of September

16 September 2022
Church engagement

“Stewardship is very good”.

Genesis 2:4-15

New International Version

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. 8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Mark 4:35-41

New International Version

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


I don’t know if you remember quite well your last 4th of July. I guess, our american brothers and sisters here might recall what they did on that day but for the non-Americans, it could be more difficult to remember.

Surprisingly, being a non-American, I do remember very well a moment from that day I will relate to you right now. 

I was sitting in my office at school working on the back-to-school supply orders when I got this whatsapp message from Melanie asking me if I would like to preach during summer at ICC.

While reading that message, my heart suddenly started to beat faster and I replied that first my English command would not be appropriate enough to deliver any consistent message (in fact I was not ready at that moment to write any sermon in English because I felt like I simply couldn’t do it whatsoever) and then, I added that anyway I would be abroad for a month.

As my heart rate started to slow down, I thought this overwhelming endeavor was behind me. But actually it was not…

Getting back to my orders of office and class supplies, I started to think about how silly I was to listen to my heart rate rather than this call from Melanie.

About 3 minutes later after my last message declining her invitation, I sent her another message asking her if I could eventually give a sermon on Creation by september… and in English of course ! 

Why Creation ? Because every 1st of September, Churches celebrate The Season of Creation which is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home. A Rocha, which is the organization I joined this year, is an international network  of national organizations devoted to the proclamation of God’s love for all creation through projects of study and conservation of the environment, education and cooperation with the communities, and the promotion of a comprehensive, sustainable and redeemed view of life in society. A Rocha is a member of the Season of Creation steering committee.

Today, dear Brothers and Sisters is then my first ever sermon in English and on Creation and stewardship. May the Holy spirit flow freely here for the next 10 minutes to help you understand my message today.

As far as I remember, I have never been a core defender of the environment. Maybe because I grew up in a quiet remote place in France where nature gets along with one of the most important car industries in the country. I have always felt, and I still do, that nature is stronger than us and so never felt really concerned about it. If some of you for example like swimming in the sea or hiking in the mountains, you have already experienced how these elements can overwhelm us by their majesty but also by their roughness and their unpredictability.

On the other hand, I always felt that I had a connection with nature, I felt responsible and I had to respect any piece of land and the species that would eventually live on. All in all, I suppose it has always been a matter of common sense rather than a political or sociological driven position which I always felt was too extreme sometimes and not really efficient to apprehend the different problems of conservation.

I had never been really able to explain this connection with nature. But all became much clearer in June 2021. We had in the French speaking church of Beirut this Pastor coming for a short period of time. He gave us a full service about the theme of Creation. From the opening prayer to the Benediction, Creation and Conservation were the center of all our attention, and I kind of understood that it was a turning point in my understanding of this link I had with nature although I had never ever suspected any links between nature conservation with scriptures.

Today I chose this reading of Jesus calms the storm because like the disciples, most of us may not realize that God not only acts in our lives but also in nature. 

You know the context of this passage right ? Jesus is very tired as he keeps teaching crowds that are following him days and maybe nights without letting Him eat and rest properly. His disciples seeing him so exhausted decide to take him away on the lake of Galilea where he could rest on a boat by fleeing the crowds. Jesus asks them to cross the lake and they obey. While Jesus falls asleep, the storm starts to rage and leads the disciples to be scared for their lives. It is said that Hebrews didn’t know how to swim. That can explain why water to them is related to death and darkness. Jesus finally wakes up and masters the elements, He calms the storm, the waves and also gets some time to lecture His short minded disciples.

What strikes me is also in this reading is that the disciples were very frightened by the storm as we said previously but once calmed they were “terrified” by Jesus himself when they realized that Jesus can master the elements. They wonder : “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”. They realize that Jesus can even take control of nature to reveal His divine nature. John Calvin comments that Jesus’ “divine power was sufficiently proved by the fact that the wind and the sea obey him.”

This situation is so meaningful in our lives of believers. In our world where our faith is so fragile, questioned, sometimes denied, we might fall in that trap where God would not be the one who could save us from trial, from our fears, from darkness and disasters. We sometimes are blurred by our governments which tend to take everything in control of every part of our lives (especially in western countries) – this doesn’t apply to Lebanon. Sciences with all the good they can bring in our world are sometimes way too optimistic on their abilities to uncover all the mysteries and complexity of God’s Creation.

Like the disciples, we may tend to forget that in Genesis 1:31 it is said : 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

God didn’t automatically congratulate himself like “Great, what I have done is perfect” but He rather had a very kind view on what He did where every species, living creatures and not only mankind, were dignified and could live freely. “Very good” when speaking about God’s creation is way too minimalist. Don’t you think so ? Why not perfect ? Probably because behind perfection there is no more mystery and nature hides an endless series of mysteries that will never cease even with science developments.

Mankind is at the center of the Creation story, not to become God but to be the steward and maintain what God has built. Unfortunately, it turned out that man wants to be God and as a consequence we are undergoing a worrying series of “natural” disasters that remind us to what the Bible called centuries ago – being the steward as said in Genesis 2:15[2:15]. “And the LORD took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” 

Like the disciples we tend to forget who God is and what He did for us. Caring for Creation is one of the first calls from God to mankind and still we tend to ignore that He entrusted us to fill this mission. And because he found the Creation “very good”, we assume that our mission is important to Him and that we must succeed in His Holy name for His glory. Do not listen to the rate of your heart if you are asked to preach before your church. Do not listen to your heart rate if you are called to take care of the Creation. Do not be scared in the storm and always remember that God may be asleep but always will master our lives and our world, because he loves us and His Creation is maybe His most important sign of love to us after the cross he bore for us.

Jesus is in our boat; he will save us from all natural disasters, plagues, global warming only if it becomes sanctified and transformed by God’s love mystery, a love that loves every single thing, every little piece of life, of atom, from the grain of sand to the shooting star.



Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.

Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.

Help us to become instruments of a new creation,

Founded on the covenant of your love.

May you have all a great and blessed week.

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