Christian Disciples and Stewards

“Do we wish to be disciples of Jesus Christ?  The Spirit is ready to show us the way---a way of which stewardship is a part.”  This is a question posed by the US Bishops in Stewardship: a Disciples Response; A Pastoral Letter on Stewardship.

In this document, the bishops assist us in responding to this question by directing our attention to some key concepts and by pointing to our perfect role model, the Blessed Mother Mary.   “Who is a Christian disciple?  One who responds to Christ’s call, follows Jesus, and shapes his or her life in imitation of Christ’s.  Who is a Steward?  One, who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.

God knew this would not be easy.  He sent Jesus to show us the way by demonstrating how to accept the personal gift of our individual vocation.  Jesus knows our strengths and weaknesses and has a purpose in mind for each of us.  We need to accept and take responsibility to fulfill the call.  In the Pastoral Letter, the Bishops provide a perfect role model, “After Jesus, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary who by her example most perfectly teaches the meaning of discipleship and stewardship in their fullest sense.  All of the essential elements are found in her life: she was called and gifted by God; she responded generously, creatively, and prudently; she understood her divinely assigned role as “handmaid” in terms of service and fidelity.” (See LK 1:26-56)

One of the major convictions identified by the Bishops in Stewardship: a Disciple’s Response is as follows:

“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 are deeply aware of the truth that
“The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it” (Ps 24:1).
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.”