“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15
God has given us the responsibility of stewardship over all of Creation, so what does that look like today?
Although it may come as a surprise to us, it has a lot to do with cost-benefit analysis. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner says that cost-benefit analysis is more than just a term we use in economics. It is at the heart of Biblical stewardship of creation. He shares a practical example,
“You and I are doing this radio program instead of my going down to the beach to swim, or you going out to ski. We’re doing this now because we’ve decided that the benefits of doing this, not just to us but to other people as well, are greater than the benefits of doing something else.”
“Every one of us makes decisions like that all of the time without even thinking, ‘Oh, I’m doing cost- benefit analysis.’ The time we spend doing one thing, we can’t spend doing a different thing at the same time. The money that we spend on ‘this,’ we cannot spend on ‘that.’”
Without even knowing it, we make analytical decisions based on what is important to us, and where we want to invest our time, our God-given gifts and our financial resources. According to Dr. Beisner, cost-benefit analysis is almost unavoidable and is the essence of stewardship of the earth.
“I have been given, by God, management or stewardship of time, energy, money, friendships, knowledge, opportunities to learn and so on. And I need to use those opportunities in ways that best promote the glory of God, the growth of Christ’s kingdom, and the benefit of my neighbors.”
“To ‘do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God,’ (Micah 6:8), I really need to do stewardship, cost-benefit analysis, to figure out what all three of those things mean.”
Through cost-benefit analysis, we can learn how to steward our resources wisely and answer God’s call to care for His creation.
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a network of over 60 Christian theologians, natural scientists, economists, and other scholars educating for Biblical earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the good news of salvation by God’s grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. To learn more about stewardship from a biblical perspective, visit Dr. Beisner’s website.The heart of stewardship