What is Stewardship?

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

A steward is one entrusted with managing the property of another. Jesus outlined some of the responsibilities of a steward in the parable of the talents. A steward must maintain and protect, nurture and develop the 'talents' or property of his Master.

The whole of Creation, including our own bodies, our daily lives, our homes, and our families, was made by God. He owns it all. In Genesis, when

And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Gen. 1:28)

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (Gen. 9:1)

He was naming us as stewards, giving us the honour of being responsible for His Works. Everything we do acts out that stewardship, and needs to be done as well, as carefully, and as gladly as if God was going to inspect our work when we're finished each task. What a monumental (and occasionally daunting) thought!

It sure puts another light on a pile of dirty dishes though. This is not boring drudgery, this is my way to serve God and be steward to what He has given me! It's not a task to be avoided or done hastily, this is a job to be studied, learned, and done the best way possible.

Just as we are to be stewards of our bodies: by eating properly, avoiding addictions, respecting our fertility, and maintaining our health, and we are to be stewards of our minds and souls: through prayer, use of the sacraments, education, and good fellowship, we are to be stewards of our jobs and our vocations.

'In the face of everyday challenges, my stewardship can fragment into small pieces, and concern itself with only minor problems. If I am not alert, my stewardship will become non-existent.

I am the steward of everything that I use: utensils in the kitchen, books in the library, files in the office, beds in the dormitory. Name it and it is my responsibility. Everything must be kept in apple-pie order, no matter how shabBy and poor it seems to be. Everything has to be kept in good repair.

I'm a steward of this watchfulness, and it must go deeply into my being!' (Catherine Doherty, February 3, 1976, Dearly Beloved, Volume Three)

It is difficult to achieve stewardship and the domestic church in the midst of chaos, disorganisation, frustration and annoyance.

In this regular Stewardship Column, Domestic-Church.Com will look at this idea of stewardship in the domestic church, share ideas about how to approach the regular tasks of home life, present methods and tips that have worked for others, and encourage an appreciation of home-making and stewardship of the home as a valuable contribution to society and family life.

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