Session 1: Gratitude – the first felt response in the spiritual life
Stewardship is an umbrella term that focuses our attention on our total relationship to God. Benedict refers to it as a spirit and practice of tender competence. The spiritual value of gratitude best expresses the feel of this relationship. The theology that underpins Stewardship is that of a covenant. God has throughout history invited us into a mutual relationship. Covenant defines that relationship as having two parts. The first part is God’s work. In it, God invites us into a model of relationship that reflects and becomes an extension of the relationships enjoyed within the Trinity between Creator, Divine Word, and Holy Spirit. For a covenant to come into existence more than an invitation is required. In the meeting of invitation with a response, covenant comes to life. Therefore, the second part of a covenant is our response without which God can only keep repeating his invitation. This theological understanding of covenant is a fundamental hallmark of the way we as Episcopalian Christians of the Anglican Tradition understand the meaning of the Incarnation, the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, and the descent of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the Gospels. Ours is a participative theology that pictures the actions of God in history as invitations to participate together with God in mutual concern for the ongoing care of the world.
Gratitude –Luke 18:9-14, Mark 10:17-30
How closely connected with your sense of gratitude to God are you?
- Is what you have, what you enjoy, the labor of your own sweat and toil?
- How much of the success in your life is the result of your own abilities and gifts?
- Where does God come into the picture?
- What best characterizes your experience of the world:
- The world is like a cake with only so many slices possible. If I increase the size of my slice then it inevitably results in someone else taking a smaller slice or heaven forbid vice versa.
- There is abundance in life – potentially enough for everyone to have what they need.
- What needs to be different or to change to let you move from a-b?
- The goal of Stewardship is to raise enough money to pay next year’s bills.
- Stewardship encourages us in deepening our covenant relationship with God through a renewed commitment of the time, talents, and finances that God has entrusted to us.