“Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response in a Nutshell,” by Tracy Earl Welliver, reprinted with permission. Please click here to read the original post.
The US Bishops’ pastoral letter was published in 1992 as a challenge to embrace a way of life with the “power to change how we understand and live out our lives.”
It contains three primary convictions
1| CHALLENGE – Mature discipleship requires a decision to follow Jesus Christ no matter the cost.
2| CHOICE – This commitment leads to a way of life, not just a series of actions.
3| VISION – Then, with the first two being true, stewardship is transformational.
The letter is organized in 5 sections that reflect on the reality and source of the above convictions:
1| The Call:
a) the call to stewardship is personal and with a purpose in mind for each individual;
b) the call is never made in isolation, with the community assisting in the discernment process. We are asked to respond to the call, knowing the cost may not be small.
2| Jesus’ Way: Jesus himself is the primary teacher of stewardship. His parables especially show us a true image of a good steward. This way of life is not followed because of reward, although it is a source of great joy. Our activity as stewards is valuable because it is bringing about a Kingdom of God that exists here and now as well in the hereafter.
3| Living as a Steward: We are called to collaborate with God in the work of creation, redemption, and sanctification. This is a stewardship in a profound way. In this manner, human productivity on any scale is seen as God’s work.
4| Stewards of the Church: Each member of the Body of Christ has an obligation due to baptism to build up that Body. A stewardship way of life leads the member to evangelization, human solidarity, social justice, ecumenism, and the Eucharist. The members are called to bring these fruits into all spheres that they work in: the diocese, the parish, the domestic church, and the world.
5| The Christian Steward: Good stewards see the evidence of God in all things, small and large. This leads to fruits of love, trust, accountability, and generosity. Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary serve as their examples. They give without measure.
– Tracy Earl Welliver
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops summary of Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response
- To read the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, please see this pdf copy posted by the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois.