Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV)
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
In ancient times, before television and newspapers, rulers would place statues of themselves in every major city when they came to power. They wanted their subjects to know who was in charge--the one who was looking out for their well-being and (more importantly) the one to whom they owed allegiance. These statues bore the image of the ruler and defacing the image would be the same as assaulting the king or emperor.
God also placed an image in the world. His image bearers were a gift to the world, to tend and care for His creation. We are his image bearers.
Often, we think of being created in God's image as some sort of innate human goodness, intelligence, or creativity--that which sets us apart from the rest of the creation. But that's a misunderstanding of being created in God's image. Being God's image bearers is not some divine birth-right to make us feel special or superior; it's a vocation--a calling to tend God's garden and care for the creation the way God Himself would care for it.
We are stewards of creation; marked as those who would rule over God's handiwork and graciously care for the water, dry land, fish, and even the little critters who crawled to and fro. Our entire existence is about partnering with God to care for that which doesn't belong to us, but belongs to our Lord (to whom we owe allegiance)
As we enter in to this Lenten season, we realize how far we have fallen from the vocation (the calling) we've be given. I hope as you journey through this time of contemplation, you will allow the Holy Spirit to form you into the image of Christ, who showed us what it means to bear the image of God.