This is the seventh in a series of Reflections posts about Quaker testimonies.
Elizabeth Freyman’s Walking Cheerfully is a delightful website (walkingcheerfully.com) that is designed and written to be shared with children, providing inspiration for First Day School programs.
Walking Cheerfully describes the Stewardship testimony as “the responsibility we have for the gifts we have been given.”
It goes on to say:
“What if the gift I am thinking of isn’t even mine, it is something I am sharing with others? I think the thing I love most about the testimony of Stewardship is that it leaves space for the possibility that we are not the owners of the gift that we are caring for, we might just be taking a turn with it.”
The Fort Meyers Quakers in Florida describe the testimony this way:
“To Friends, good stewardship means taking care of what has been given, not just for ourselves, but for the people around us and for future generations as well.”
As we try to be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given, we can reflect on some of the queries the Fort Meyers Quakers ask:
- Do we respect life and nature? As human beings, how do we act as caretakers of the Earth?
- Do we think about what happens to the Earth and its creatures as a result of our own behavior? How can we help make the world a welcoming place for all the different animals and plants we share it with?
- How can I be a better steward of our environment in my consumption and recycling habits? How can I help others care for the environment?
The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice sums up the testimony very well:
“All that we have, in ourselves and our possessions, are gifts from God, entrusted to us for our responsible use. From the beginning, it was through the wonders of nature that people saw God. How we treat the earth and its creatures is a basic part of our relationship with God.”