As Each One Has Received A Gift, Use It To Serve One Another As Good Stewards Of God’s Varied Grace. – 1 Peter 4:10
What identifies a steward?
Safeguarding material and human resources and using them responsibly are one answer; so is generous giving of time talent and treasure. But being a Christian steward means more. As Christians stewards, we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.
Jesus calls us to be disciples – followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church of Saint Peter is blessed to accept a disciple’s model of stewardship presented in “Stewardship: A Disciples Response,” the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Stewardship.
Three convictions in particular underlie what is said in this document.
- Mature disciples make a conscious, firm decision, carried our by action, to be followers of Jesus Christ no matter the cost to themselves.
- Beginning in conversion, change of heart and mind, this commitment is expressed not in a single action, nor even in a number of actions, but in an entire way of life. It means committing one’s very self to the Lord.
- Stewardship is an expression of discipleship, with the power to change how we understand and live out our lives. Disciples who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and are and will be. They know themselves to be recipients and caretakers of God’s many gifts. They are grateful for what they have received and eager to cultivate their gifts out of love for God and one another.
Bishop Robert Morneau, one of the original authors of, “Stewardship: A Disciples Response,” asks that we each create an awareness of and cultivate 12 gardens of Stewardship. Those 12 gardens are:
- Garden of the Body – get proper nutrition, exercise and rest, and avoid chemical abuse, smoking, and in our culture, obesity.
- Garden of Family and Friends – take the time to nurture relationships with those important to you.
- Garden of the Globe – Care for the environment; recycle; don’t waste natural resources.
- Garden of Decisions – Make well informed choices, work toward understanding and consensus, keep the vision and mission of Jesus in mind.
- Garden of Emotions – Aim for a balance emotionally; work at being in good humor.
- Garden of the “Polis” – Be politically aware, be an informed and involved citizen, and vote; attend community meetings.
- Garden of the Chip – Use technology for good purposes.
- Garden of History – Know and Value the things of the past; keep lessons of history fresh in the mind.
- Garden of the Mind – Keep learning.
- Garden of the Arts – Listen to, read, and watch the best in books, music, movies, theater, artwork, radio, and television.
- Garden of Money – Use financial resources well. Do set and keep a budget. Set spending limits. Ask how much money is enough.
- Garden of the Soul – Cultivate a prayer life.
Information compiled by Keenan Raverty using the 1992 Bishops Pastoral Letter on Stewardship, “Stewardship: A Disciples Response,” and from The Catholic Spirit newspaper, used with permission. To learn more about stewardship and this document, please visit the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops website.