A Call to a Resource-full People

Published on Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:00
Written by Stewardship Today Staff

By definition, a cornucopia is a symbol of considerable blessing, a cone-shaped container overflowing with the fruits of abundant harvest. Such a centerpiece often adorns the grand display of blessing found within a typical American Thanksgiving dining room. There is much to be thankful for, including the very resources used to create meals of which much of the world can only dream. God has allowed us to produce and harness much of the globe’s natural resources, yet we tend to consume a great deal, as well. As noted in a recent study, “for many resources we are the world’s largest consumers.” We take the greatest share of corn and coffee, just as we do the largest share of oil and natural gas.

Though China “is the greatest overall producer and consumer of meat, the highest per-capita consumption in the world is that of the United States.” The global average for annual meat consumption is about eighty pounds per person per year. The average for the typical American? Over three times that. That’s a lot of turducken. The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops notes that “Catholic social teaching calls on Catholics to uphold the dignity and sacredness of every human person, be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters worldwide, and care for God’s creation. Therefore, natural resources should be used in ways that sustain the natural environment and contribute to human development.”

The production and consumption of natural resources remain significant topics of interest, as do concerns related to the environment and societal development. We are tempted to think of ways these matters affect us only. The great Hebrew king and Old Testament psalmist David might suggest we draw a much larger circle. “The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds,” he wrote in what we know as Psalm 24. “The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who live there. For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.” The loving God we are blessed to worship has made himself known to us; by his grace, he is near. And yet, he is still God.

“Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?” David asked. “Who can stand in his holy place? ‘The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely. They will receive blessings from the Lord, and justice from their saving God. Such are the people that love the Lord, that seek the face of the God of Jacob.’ ” God is the author of “every good and perfect gift.” This holiday season we will remind each other of the many things for which we are rightly grateful. It is not too much to ask that we consider those whose plates will hold much less this Thanksgiving. Some are our neighbors, but all are citizens of the earth that “is the Lord’s.” We honor him when we think of them, and not simply with a considered approach to the holiday but in ways wise and sure throughout the year.