Stewardship

John Woolman’s simple statement in A Word of Remembrance and Caution to the Rich (1793) may serve as a beginning for all consideration of stewardship: “As Christians, all we possess is the gift of God, and in the distribution of it we act as his stewards; it becomes us therefore to act agreeably to that divine wisdom which he graciously gives to his servants.”The principle of stewardship thus applies to all that we have and are, as individuals, as members of groups, and as inhabitants of the earth. As individuals, we are obliged to use our time, our various abilities, our strength, our money, our material possessions, and other resources in a spirit of love, aware that we hold these gifts in trust, and are responsible to use them in the Light. As Friends, and as members of other groups, we seek to apply the same spirit to the use and contribution of our corporate resources. As people, we are obliged to cherish the earth and to protect all its resources in a spirit of humble stewardship, committed to the right sharing of these resources among people everywhere.
“To turn all we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives”–this, in the words of Woolman, is the meaning of Quaker stewardship.
Do we regard our time, talents, energy, money, material possessions, and other resources as gifts from God, to be held in trust and shared according to the Light we are given? How do we express this conviction?
What are we doing as individuals and as a Meeting to use and thereby perfect our gifts? How do we encourage others to use theirs?
How do we exercise our respect for the balance of nature? Are we careful to avoid poisoning the land, air, and sea and to use the world’s resources with care and consideration for future generations and with respect for all life?
In what other ways do we carry out our commitment to stewardship?

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