The following article is written by Jason Dickey, from Tampa, FL
We have before us an opportunity to spend all eternity with God; to be reconciled, justified, redeemed, saved, and be resurrected. This chance for life after life is something that redirects our thinking, it changes how we live now. There is a fairly common misconception that we have about what this goal means to us. Unfortunately despite the fact that we say the right things about it, we find ourselves acting as if this life doesn’t matter, after all, we will be resurrected. We cannot afford to allow this sort of thinking. Even though we know that the resurrection infuses this life back with meaning, somehow we think of resurrected bodies in terms of making this life just some sort of test, that stewardship over our bodies, and our homes, and our world don’t matter because of the resurrection and judgment. This isn’t true.
Man’s first task on earth was to tend and keep the garden. God gave mankind dominion over the whole earth. This means he expects us to practice good stewardship over it. Due to the almost pagan like nature-worship of some we are tempted to reject this thinking and treat our earth as a disposable product. There is a fine balance in this, we need to be the rulers and stewards that God charged us to be in the garden. To take care of this world, to tend our gardens, to keep the vineyard fruitful and protect the sheep from the wolves. Although all these analogies are used in scripture to describe God’s relationship with His people, they are useful because they describe truths that we already know. That we have stewardship of this world.
We also have a responsibility to ourselves. We all have heard the use of I Corinthians 6 to say that we must take care of our bodies because it is the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is important to firstly note that Paul makes this point in relation to sexual immorality and he is arguing that we cannot join the temple of our Body to this sin that by its very nature is against our body.
This being said there is a point within the latter part of this chapter that is worth considering in this context. In verse 14 Paul argues that God raised Jesus and will also raise our bodies and so then we must not join our bodies to sin. His argument here is premised around the fact that the resurrection of the dead means that we must not defile our bodies. This goes beyond sexual sin, it goes beyond even sins such as gluttony and those other vices that methodically destroy what God has created for us. It means that we are also stewards of this body that will be raised. Of course God in His might and power can raise even a broken body, but there is challenge in this to protect and take care of what He has given us.
If the analogies of vineyards and shepherds are useful because they convey certain indivisible truths, then so also do the analogies used in scripture about our bodies. Paul buffeted his body daily, ran as if to finish the race, and had disciplined control over his body and its passions. We also need to reflect that same attitude and character in our lives. That we bend our bodies into our control and that we protect them. Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t to preach some sort of aesthetic buddhist denial for its own sake, this is about being in control and managing what God has given us appropriately.
Yes our goal is heaven, a home with God. We seek and strive for the land beyond the sunset, but we must first protect what we have here and now.