If I went out of town and asked you to house sit, would you neglect to feed my pets? Water my lawn? Vacuum my living room after you hosted a party? Check my mail? Of course not. When you housesit, you know that every detail of that home falls under your care. You know that, when I return, I will ask questions about unexpected visitors, encounters with my neighbors, and any issues pertaining to the wellbeing of my property and my possessions. In short, you know that I care about everything—that’s why I hired a housesitter.
We are house sitters over Creation, God’s stewards entrusted with care for everything he made and everything to which he lays claim. Which means … everything. The environment. The animals. The oceans. The cultures and economies and neighborhoods and histories. Of course every metaphor breaks down eventually, and here it’s worth mentioning that God has not abandoned us to so he might enjoy a cosmic vacation; but the house sitter metaphor is designed to elucidate both the authority and the responsibility we have as God’s agents in God’s Creation.
When the scripture talks about salvation, the Greek word soteria is used, which means health, wellbeing, and overall flourishing of each person. It is closely linked to the Aristotelian concept of eudemonia, commonly translated as “human flourishing.” Which is why we are instructed to prosper, even as our soul prospers. Because God cares about every part of who we are, not just whether or not we go to heaven when we die. God is concerned with our health, our hearts, our friendships, our homes, our jobs, our hobbies.