God put Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to take care of it. He made them stewards of the garden (Genesis 1:27-30.) It is a celestial place with God’s glory in it. When they chose to disobey and eat the forbidden fruit, they chose to not abide by celestial law, they were cast out and we’re made stewards of a less glorious world instead. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we have inherited their stewardship and must take care of our world.
Jesus teaches us about stewardship in the parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:14-30. Luke 19:12-26 contains a similar parable) If we prove to be good stewards, we will be rewarded and entrusted with more. In real life, God’s assets are His children. He cares for us much more than he cares for land or currency. He has entrusted us with caring for His children and we must prove to be good stewards of man kind over anything else.
An important aspect of good stewardship is knowing the purpose of the thing we are stewards over. For example, you would probably be a bad steward of someone’s nice mansion if you thought it’s purpose was to house pigs and cows. So what is the purpose of God’s children and what is the purpose of Earth? How do we know we are not unknowingly putting pigs in God’s house?
Man’s purpose is very clearly spelled out in 2 Nephi 2:25
“Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.”
How do we fulfill our stewardship over our fellow man kind? Help them have joy. This is something that we should be doing every minute of every day. We should always work for the joy of people. That means ourselves, our family and friends, and even our enemies.
The purpose of the world doesn’t seem to be as straight forward but the scriptures still contain answers. D&C 138:47-48 says
“The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.”
If we take “utterly wasted,” to mean that Earth’s purpose was not fulfilled then we can conclude that the Earth’s purpose is linked with genealogy and the work of sealing of families together performed in temples. Once again, the answer leads to helping people to have joy.
If we do not fulfill our purpose and prove to be bad stewards, we will lose that which we have. Jacob Marley, the unfortunate ghost that visited Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve realized his stewardship when it was too late. Constantly restrained in eternal chains as a consequence of his poor stewardship, he reminded Scrooge of the most important things with this lament:
Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Remember the most important thing you can do with your time, strength, and resources. Be a righteous steward. Do the work Remember the reward promised to us by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-40:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory . . . Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”