Stewardship is the testimony to which the other Quaker testimonies point. To the extent we live simply, we will avoid the wastefulness endangering the earth’s ability to adequately sustain life for future generations. When we make an honest effort to live in peace with each other, we will, in the words of John Woolman, “lessen the distresses of the afflicted and increase the happiness of the creation”. If we seek to live with integrity, we will develop, in the words of Paul, “a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people” (Galatians 5:22 The Message) and we will act upon that conviction by treating others and the earth with a due sense of respect and responsibility. If we are cognizant of community in the fullest sense of the word, we will be led to nurture and protect the human and natural resources we sometimes take for granted. If we honor the testimony of equality in our day-to-day lives, we will recognize that each person has a measure to give generously to each other and a measure to receive gratefully from the earth.

 

We may say, “What can I do? I don’t have that much. What little I have will make no real difference.”  If so tempted, let us then remember the story of Jesus and the widow’s offering in Luke 21:1-4.

 

“He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on." (NRSV)

 

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Comment by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 6, 2012 at 5:31pm

The point of the story was not: "What a nice widow this was, giving you all that she had!"

The real point was more like: "You people are bragging about superficial displays of generosity that don't really cost you anything; but you've made this poor widow pay 'all that she had,' and now she really doesn't have anything left." This was not a recommendation, but an indictment.

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