Simplicity and stewardship

Alice Fulton (
Fri, 21 Jun 1996 07:10:38 -0500

This is a short piece that appeared in our parish outreach newsletter that
suggests ways to connect stewardship in several ways -

Peace -

Simplicity and stewardship

In our shared reflections at the annual meeting it was clear that we all
are looking for ways to be good stewards and to share more fully and more
effectively the gifts we have received. Last year Beth Rapson spoke
movingly about tithing. She made clear the rich sense of gratitude that can
come with tithing and gave several useful suggestions for putting it into
practice. Still, it is likely that some (or even many) find tithing a
challenge, perhaps one they are not yet called to or even one that is not
for them. Here I would like to share a few steps towards simplicity, within
the reach of everyone, that can free resources for outreach or other forms
of stewardship.

Many people have the habit of getting several new pieces of clothing every
spring and fall. When the usual time comes around, we can ask ourselves
whether some of the pieces of clothing we already have would last another
year, and set aside part of the money that would have been spent on new
clothes. Depending on your current clothes budget, this simplifying act can
free up one to several hundred dollars a year for other uses. Another such
choice is to replace worn-out clothes that need dry cleaning with ones that
can be washed at home. Reducing a weekly dry cleaning bill by five dollars
frees up over two hundred dollars a year.

Meals offer other ways to simplify. One is to make two or three meals a
week meatless meals. This can free five to ten dollars a week, or several
hundred dollars a year. Another way is to consciously choose to skip lunch
once a week, say on Fridays, and set aside the lunch money for that day.

It is striking, and surely no accident, that each of these choices for
simplicity offers other opportunities for good stewardship at the same time
that they free money for new uses. They free time, also: less time spent
shopping or picking up dry cleaning, time saved on cooking or at the lunch
hour. These freed minutes and hours also are available for conscious
stewardship. These simplifying choices are also good stewardship of the
earth; the environment is spared the impact of making unneeded clothes, of
dry cleaning fumes, and of growing cattle or other animals.

There is still another benefit of these choices. Small as they are, they
still offer a way to make simple acts, such as dressing in the morning or
eating supper at night, a time to experience and be grateful for the love
of God, as well as a means to share that love with others.