Stewardship of Our Physical Attributes
For a study in contrasts, compare verses 11-15 of this chapter with verses 16-22. Verse 12 pictures Moses coolly committing a murder. In verse 17 he gets another chance to take vengeance. This time, though, we see a Moses under control - a bodyguard standing by, acting as an implied menace.
The Moses of the second scenario provides a good example of how we can steward our physical attributes. The relevant difference in the exercise of physical strength verses 12 and 17 concerns the purpose for which force is used. In verse 12 force is used to avenge a wrong; but in verse 17 it is used to protect the innocent. God endowed us with physical capacity to provide for our needs, to assist others and to protect the innocent - but never to bully or take revenge. This principle applies to our stewardship over all our physical endowments.
'Our talents and special abilities belong to God,' says theologian Kenneth Boa. 'We own nothing that was not first given to us! (see 1Co 4:7). God has entrusted us with aptitudes and abilities, and as good stewards, we must use them for his glory and not for our own. This is true not only of musical, artistic, athletic, academic, business, and persuasive talents, but also of the spiritual gifts we have received.
Certainly one implication is that we are to treat others, no matter what our perception of their worth or deserving, as fellow image-bearers of God. Evangelical leader Charles Colson reflects on this issue:
The Christian worldview! tells us that humans have the eternal destiny, which! bolsters human dignity. Throughout history, most cultures have had a low view of the individual, subordinating the individual to the interests of the tribe or state. And if Christianity is not true, this would be quite reasonable. 'If individuals live only seventy years,' said C.S. Lewis, 'then a state, or a nation, or a civilization, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than the individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.' This explains why Christianity has always provided not only a vigorous defense of human rights but also the sturdiest bulwark against tyranny.
And because we all stand on equal ground before God, Christianity gives a sound basis for social and political equality. Given this standing, writes Abraham Kuyper, it follows, then, that we 'have no claim whatsoever to lord [it] over one another, and that we stand as equals before God, and among men.'