Bob Cox

Bob Cox

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops identifies a steward as being an individual safeguarding material and human resources and using them responsibly.

One’s generous giving of time, talent and treasure also marks you as a steward.

As Christian 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.

As Christians, we believe that God gifted us with our lives. The blessings He gives us are a result of His goodness and grace, and we are entrusted by God to take care of the manifold gifts He has bestowed upon us as stewards.

We Catholics are called to share our faith in Christ and to be good stewards by the way we honor Him. As good stewards of the Lord, our lives need to provide an example to all by living our faith by modeling the life of Jesus.

The USCCB states, “The Bible contains a profound message about the stewardship of material creation: God created the world but entrusts it to human beings. Caring for and cultivating the world involves the following:

» “Respect for human life — shielding life from threat and assault, doing everything that can be done to enhance this gift and make life flourish.

» “Development of this world through noble human effort — physical labor, the trades and professions, the arts and sciences. We call such effort ‘work.’ Work is a fulfilling human vocation. Work is a partnership with God — our share in a divine human collaboration in creation. It occupies a central place in our lives as Christian stewards.

» “Joyful appreciation for the God-given beauty and wonder of nature.

» “Protection and preservation of the environment, which would be the stewardship of ecological concern.”

Something that is a concern for my family is the environment and climate change. Environmental stewardship refers to responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices. This takes full and balanced account of the interests of society, future generations and other species as well as of private needs, and it accepts significant answerability to society. Answerability to God!

Experts around the world agree that the need for environmental stewardship has never been greater, as there exists overwhelming evidence that the environment is being irrevocably damaged by human actions. Climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity due to declining habitat loss are just two compelling issues that have to be addressed by society and by Christians especially.

It is clear from the Bible that Christians and society are called to be responsible stewards of Earth. This is answerability to God!

We believe that stewardship means that we are not really owners of what God has freely given us but only stewards. Not only have we been given gifts from our Lord in order to further His mission (evangelize) on earth, but we are to use these gifts for ourselves as well. Jesus wants us to make the correct use of the gifts given to us, for example, the Corporal Works of Mercy:

» To feed the hungry.

» To visit the sick.

» To visit the imprisoned.

» To shelter the homeless.

» To clothe the naked.

» To give drink to the thirsty.

Humans have been given many talents, including those of the body and mind, to use to bring His love to all men and to use for God’s greater glory. Christians are called to serve Jesus by using our treasures, talents and time for His greater good. Because we are faithful and knowledgeable stewards, we are required to act with responsibility with everything that we have been entrusted with and live in anticipation of the coming of our Lord Jesus.

We are called to give witness to Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are expected to always lead a good life and be an example to others of our faith and works of mercy. We all have been given a variety of gifts from God.

For Catholics, our faith requires stewardship. Therefore, stewardship will care for and encourage the growth of our Catholic Christian faith. St. John Paul II reminded us when he was pope that stewardship was not an option but a requirement of our faith. Peter says: “Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gifts he has received from God” (1 Peter 4:11).

We all have been gifted by God one way or another. May He bless us to use them wisely. Amen.

Bob Cox is a deacon at St. Ann Catholic Church in Florence. Contact him and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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