Stewardship Ministries


 It was a warm June evening, in the delightful surroundings of the Beskydy retreat centre in the Czech Republic. There in front of me was an, “In the rustling grass I hear him pass”1 moment, caught on camera. It caused me to wonder about the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story; the little bears’ porridge being ‘just right’!

in the rustling grass i see him passHow is it, that our planet, is positioned in exactly the right location, right galaxy, orbiting at the right distance, from the right type of star? How come it’s placed where it is, in the right arrangement of planets, in a continuously stable orbit, and the right size? Then there’s the:

Nitrogen 78.09%
Oxygen 20.51%
Argon 0.93%
Carbon Dioxide 0.04%

and small amounts of other gases that make up the ‘atmosphere’, the perfect life support system. Scientists call it the ‘Rare Earth Hypothesis’2.

In the beginning, it was ‘just right’; described by God as ‘good’ and ‘very good’ (Genesis 1). In contrast, towards the end, planet earth, ‘waits with eager longing... to be set free from its bondage to decay’, ready to be renewed (Romans 8:21). Earthquakes seem more frequent (we’re not sure why), hurricanes too, fuelled by warmer water and atmospheric temperatures. The consequence of global warming?  Some believe so and some do not.

Politically it is not ‘just right’. President Trump, in his speech of 19 September stated, “we have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea”. We desperately hope this was hyperbole as his speech also invoked “the almighty God who made us all”. 

But Stephen Hawking isn’t waiting for God’s intervention, as he regards life on planet earth, long term, as unsustainable.  “Annihilation is a real risk, be it because of an asteroid hitting the Earth, a new virus, climate change, nuclear war or artificial intelligence gone rogue.

That the days of peace and prosperity are over, is no surprise.  Christ warned, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming on the world.” (Luke 21:25-26).  

Given these turbulent times, where is the church’s prophetic voice? 

Have you noticed that many preachers seem risk averse to preaching about the times?  A reaction, perhaps, to those who mislead, by interpreting the writings of Daniel and Revelation over-literally, all too quickly and easily.  Every news story about the EU, the Pope, earthquakes & Islamic fundamentalism is seen as a ‘times up’ event.  Throw into the mix a hint of conspiracy, and the interpretation takes on added sparkle.  Paul calls it the “Itching ears” syndrome (1 Timothy 4:4). 

By the same measure, is it not also misleading to ignore preaching about the times?  Instead, as never before, it’s time for biblically balanced preachers, to reclaim the pulpit agenda and faithfully interpret the truth of the gospel, for these times, with accuracy, depth, and relevance.

To put it another way, it’s called being a faithful steward of the Gospel.


Creation Sabbath – October 28th
You are invited to join Seventh-day Adventist churches worldwide in proclaiming Sabbath, October 28, 2017, as Creation Sabbath.
1Rare Earth hypothesis 
2Glad: This is my Father's World
3Stephen Hawking

First Things 1st is the monthly blog of the Stewardship Ministries Department of the Trans-European Division. The purpose is to restore and strengthen the principles of biblical stewardship, leading to a strong, mature, and joyful faith in Christ for those we serve. 

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Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Herts AL1 3EY
St Albans, United Kingdom