24 Sep Students… ENGAGE YOUR CAMPUSES as Stewards
UESI’s former General Secretary, Rev. P.T.Chandapilla in one of his classic messages, suggested three identities for applied Christian living – “Pilgrims, Strangers and Stewards.” He expounded that “believers should be Pilgrims (and not settlers), Strangers (and not citizens) and Stewards (and not owners) and while the first two identities would call for a detachment from this world, the third would call for an essential and creative engagement in this world”. God’s people should creatively engage the very field of their training / involvement as stewards, and it’s good to have the start of such an engagement right at the campus during their studies. For instance, if you are a physics student, train up yourselves for a creative engagement in Physics as a steward of God’s concerns in the field of Physics. By the way, only few even in the field of Physics know that Sir Isaac Newton, hailed as the Father of Modern Physics, was a follower of Christ. He firmly believed in God and worshipped Him while deeply engaging in Physics, discovering and formulating the laws of motion, gravity and so on. In fact he wrote many studies on the books of the Bible (including prophetic books like Daniel and Revelation) in addition to his theses in Physics. It was not secular and sacred sides of Newton’s life, but an integrated life wherein he drew his inspiration to engage in Physics from his quest to know more about God’s creation and the physical laws that He set in. And he worshipped God with his findings and discoveries in the world of science. It’s interesting to read the epitaph on Newton’s tomb at the Westminster Abbey. “Here is buried Isaac Newton, Knight, who by a strength of mind almost divine, and mathematical principles peculiarly his own, explored the course and figures of the planets, the paths of comets, the tides of the sea, the dissimilarities in rays of light, and, what no other scholar has previously imagined, the properties of the colors thus produced. Diligent, sagacious and faithful, in his expositions of nature, antiquity and the holy Scriptures, he vindicated by his philosophy the majesty of God mighty and good, and expressed the simplicity of the Gospel in his manners. Mortals rejoice that there has existed such and so great an ornament of the human race! He was born on 25 December 1642, and died on 20 March 1726 Lord Kelvin, who formulated the Laws of hermodynamics and paved way for a flood of discoveries and inventions, had been a follower of Christ. In fact he was an elder in his church along with his practice as a physicist. In response to the growing atheism of his times (after the Darwin’s theory etc.), he said, “I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the farther does it take us from anything comparable to atheism. Do not be afraid to be free thinkers. If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to the belief in God”
Louis Pasteur, hailed as The Father of Microbiology, who developed “pasteurization” said “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.” “Science brings men nearer to God.” Joseph John Thompson, who discovered the “electrons” said “In the distance tower still higher [scientific] peaks which will yield to those who ascend them still wider prospects and deepen the feeling whose truth is emphasized by every advance in science, that great are the works of the Lord.” (Statement in Nature) James Joule, the physicist who worked on Kinetic Theory of Gases and discovered “Joule-Thomson” effect – paving way for further inventions in refrigeration and air conditioning said, “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.” “Order is manifestly maintained in the universe…governed by the sovereign will of God” “After
the knowledge of, and obedience to, the will of God, the next aim must be to know something of His attributes of wisdom, power, and goodness as evidenced by His handiwork.” By the way “Joule” is a unit of energy in science today.
There is a host of people of God, who are known for their creative engagement in their fields and glorified God with their findings, discoveries, new know-hows and contributions in their fields. While C.S. Lewis can be termed as a missionary in literature and philosophy (think of Chronicles of Narnia, etc.), William Wilberforce can be termed as missionary in Politics and governance. The list is endless. It’s true that without an effective life that validates our identities as pilgrims and strangers, we can’t be good stewards bringing glory to God. Transformed students called
to impact the campuses should consider. . .
1. God of the Bible is the owner of the fields of their studies. May it be Pure Sciences, Applied Sciences, Economics & Commerce, Art, Literature & Culture, History & Politics, and so on, the owner of these domains is fully God, our Creator. He created those with His great plans and purposes as described in the Scripture right from Genesis. For by Him all things where created – things in heaven and on earth – visible and invisible. . . All things were created by Him and for Him. . . In Him all things hold together. (Col: 3: 16-17).
2. Man with his sinful nature has corrupted many of these fields by his fallen priorities without any accountability to God. So many things in the fields of our studies may not be in accordance with God’s purposes now and His plans for the future. However, God in His mercy accounted for its redemption in the mission of Christ “For God was pleased to have His fullness dwell in Him (Christ) and through Him reconcile to Himself ALL things- whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, GOD of the Bible is the OWNER of the all fields of studies.
MAN with his sinful nature has corrupted many of these fields by his FALLEN PRIORITIES without any accountability to God. WE are called to be His STEWARDS in the fields of our studies- engaging with deep accountability to God and concern for its redemption back to GOD’S PURPOSES shed on the cross. (Col: 3: 19-20)
3. We are called to be His stewards in the fields of our studies- engaging with deep accountability to God and concern for its redemption back to God’s purposes. The need for redemption of many fields of our studies is more than obvious than ever. We should remind ourselves, in the light of Genesis 1 & 2, that God created us for a creative engagement (and enjoyment too) in these fields that we study, and called to engage in His mission to redeem these fields back to His purposes.
Campuses are happening places . . . The knowledge base in every field is getting upgraded at a fast pace there. Even before we get used to some new thing, something newer appears. As God’s people in the campuses, we should study,
praying and seeking God’s mind in these things. And as we pray and engage in our fields as stewards, God will reveal His further plans on these things that we study. Surely better and Godly things will emerge as a result, for which
we can claim His promises for His glory. For instance, while studying economic policies, praying to God, seeking wisdom to tackle the current world issues like poverty, unemployment, price rise, inflation, etc., will not God
reveal better ideas- in line with
His eternal purposes? (Amos 3:7)
The Scripture, throughout its wide landscape of human history, reveals to us how God dealt with people on a variety of issues in their daily walks and challenges of their times, studied in its context with prayers, we can get insights
for answers for our problems in our contexts and in our fields of studies and engagements too. . . So in effect, through the study of God’s Word and constant communion with Him, we should engage our fields of studies with
His insights (what He want to do further in those fields for His glory). Our students should engage the campuses with such Godly thoughts / ideas/ wisdom / technologies / policies in the fields of their studies. Beyond innovations, innovations will emerge when followers of Christ serve as “Stewards of Theology” in Economics, Physics, Chemistry,
Political Science, and Engineering and so on. May the Lord help us to be His Stewards engaging the campuses, living out His concerns for the fields of our studies.
Reji lives in Pune with his wife Betsy and their children Monica and Roshan. A mechanical engineer by training,he works as the General Manager in an automotive ancillary company in Pune. Reji’s project on truck cabin AC (aircon for common man), in his previous assignment that brought him awards in the company is an example of stewardship of technology.