Faith & Practice

“All that we have, in our selves and our possessions, are gifts from God, entrusted to us for our responsible use.”

The excerpts below from Faith & Practice give insight and guidance on stewardship of our financial resources.

Stewardship of Economic Resources

All that we have, in our selves and our possessions, are gifts from God, entrusted to us for our responsible use. Jesus reminds us that we must not lay up earthly treasures for ourselves, for where our treasures are, there will our hearts be also. We cannot serve both God and Mammon.

Stewardship is a coming together of our major testimonies. To be good stewards in God’s world calls on us to examine and consider the ways in which our testimonies for peace, equality, and simplicity interact to guide our relationships with all life.

 O that we who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and thereby examine our foundation and motives in holding great estates! May we look upon our treasures, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions. John Woolman, c. 1770

In a world of economic interactions far more complex than John Woolman could have imagined, Friends need to examine their decisions about obtaining, holding, and using money and other assets, to see whether they find in them the seeds, not only of war, but also of self-indulgence, injustice, and ecological disaster. Good stewardship of economic resources consists both in avoidance of those evils and in actions that advance peace, simple living, justice, and a healthy ecosystem. Good stewardship also requires attention to the economic needs of Quaker and other organizations that advance Friends’ testimonies.

(Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 2002, p. 80)

Read more from Faith & Practice’s section on Living in the World.

Right Sharing

Friends worldwide have accepted the idea that the testimony of equality in the economic realm implies a commitment to the right sharing of the world’s resources. Friends in comfortable circumstances need to find practical expression of the testimony of simplicity in their earning and spending. They must consider the meaning for their own lives of economic equality and simplicity, and what level of income is consonant with their conclusions. They should consider likewise what portion of that income should be shared beyond the immediate family. That decision entails balancing the social value of self-sufficiency against the social value of greater help for those more needy. It also requires judgments about what expenditures are essential and what are discretionary, and about the values that will underlie discretionary expenditures.

(Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 2002, p. 80)

Read more from Faith & Practice’s section on Living in the World.

Family Life and the Home

It is within the family that we initially seek to live our testimonies. Two of these, simplicity and stewardship, are especially important. A family that strives to practice simplicity will exercise stewardship in the use of its social and material resources. Considerations of stewardship should include decisions regarding the family’s financial commitments to its monthly and quarterly or regional meetings and to the yearly meeting.

(Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 2002, p. 70)

Read more from Faith & Practice’s section on Living with Ourselves and Others

Queries on Stewardship of Resources

Does our Meeting serve social and economic justice in its uses of property and money?

How does our Meeting engage its members in the support of the Meeting’s work, its ministry, and the upkeep of its property?

How does our Meeting engage its members in the support of the quarterly and yearly meetings and other Quaker organizations?

To what extent does our Meeting rely on current members for financial support, and what role does endowment income serve? Does the Meeting consider carefully the appropriate role of invested funds?

Am I clear that I am the steward, not the owner, of property in my care?

Do I simplify my needs, making choices that balance self-sufficiency (to avoid unnecessary dependence on others) and fair sharing of resources? Do I make choices as a consumer that support the equitable distribution of income?

Do my employment and other activities allow for use of time and energy in spiritual growth and in service to the Religious Society of Friends?

Do I contribute generously within my means to the funding of the work of Friends in my Meeting, in the yearly meeting, and in the wider world of Friends?

(Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 2002, p. 213-214)

Read more from Faith & Practice’s section on Queries.