|The Image of God and the Cultural Mandate|
Our call as stewards is to continue the work that God began. He started with a world “without form and void” and set it in proper order; we are to “tend the Garden,” including both the cultivation of beauty through the arts and the production of food and other necessities.
But God had a recovery plan for our disobedience: through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the ultimate image of God, through His death, resurrection, and ascension, the penalty due to our sin is paid in full and the power of sin in our lives is broken, thus restoring our relationship with God. This provides a solid foundation for reconciliation with each other and for dealing with the problem of guilt and shame in our own lives.
What shall we say in response to this?
First, it means that Christianity is far more than what most people—including Christians—think of as “religion” (which typically means little more than religious activities plus morality). Rather, Christianity is a worldview, a vision of the world and our place in it where every facet of our life—family, occupation, recreation, relationships, finances, everything—finds its meaning and end in God’s purposes for us and for the world. The Gospel affects all of life, and includes the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us, whether time, talents, treasure, or relationships.
Second, Christians need to be active in every sphere of life, and should infuse everything they do with the sure knowledge that they are fulfilling God’s call on their lives to be stewards wherever God has placed them. And while they need to work from the foundation provided by Christ’s redemption, they do not necessarily need to wear this on their sleeve.
Third, we need to get rid of the idea that only clergy are involved in “full time Christian service.” When we understand that all of culture is under God’s authority and that He equips each of us to follow our unique calling, it becomes clear that all work should be considered Christian service. Christians in the “secular environment are fulfilling God’s call to be His stewards by developing culture. To be sure, some are called to vocational ministry as members of the clergy, but their work is no more or less sacred than the business owner or laborer who does her or his work as a calling from God.
Fourth, although evangelism is critically important, it is only the first step for Christians. The Great Commission tells us that wherever we go, we are to make disciples who obey everything that Jesus taught. Evangelism must lead to discipleship, to teaching people how to live for Jesus in their own walks of life. Jesus only called twelve to be apostles; he left his other disciples in their own professions.
Lastly, to do all of this, we need to catch a vision of why we matter. The entire universe is “the theater of God’s glory,” as Calvin put it, and yet in this amazing, mysterious, and beautiful universe we occupy a unique place. We alone bridge the gap between time and eternity, matter and spirit, and we have a unique calling to bring to fruition the things God has begun. Each of us is individually designed and equipped to play a key part that only we can do in bringing about God’s purposes for His creation.
So let us take up the challenge to live out our identity as God’s image on earth, bringing the lordship of Christ to bear in all areas of life, and recognizing that we have a unique and critical role to play, however small it may look to us, in fulfilling God’s purposes for the world. And whatever we do, whether in word or deed, let us do it as unto God, not men, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 The word “go” in the Greek is not a command, it is a participle. The sense is more “in your going” or “as you go” rather than a command to go.