On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 95: Children and the Stewardship Life I

“…for all of you are children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27 NKJV)

All children, all Christians, learn about their call to discipleship through Baptism. From the moment of reception into the Kingdom of God through Baptism and Holy Chrismation, growth begins. All of us have the opportunity to grow in Christ from the earliest of our days as Christians.

As children’s relationships with God are formed they begin to understand their responsibility to live as Jesus lived and to acknowledge God’s many gifts. God works through them while serving the poor, spreading the Good News, and taking care of everything God has given them. Therefore, as disciples, children, too, are stewards of everything God entrusts to them – that is, if the children are formed by parents who understand and carry out the responsibility to raise their children as good stewards.

Stewardship is based on the idea that all we have and all we are comes from God. In order to thank God for our many blessings, we must give back a portion of the time, talent and treasure that God has blessed us with. Stewardship is not a program that is handed to a child like an arithmetic book. Stewardship is not something to be learned. Stewardship is an attitude -- a way of life. Stewardship calls for us to share ourselves, to be a holy people, to step up and to take the risk of walking with Jesus Christ in His Holy Church.

We are all called to be disciples and caretakers of God’s many gifts. Stewardship is not about tithing, sacrificial giving or fund raising. Stewardship is about making personal decisions about how our lives and God’s expectations are meshed together. A child’s way of life in the future is formed early in that child’s young life. How many of our children are taught, usually by parents’ example, that most of life is about self-indulgence and display. How much of what is spent on toys, games and electronic media is necessary? Are these supplied without a hint of sacrificial use? Would the children be just as happy without? Or do we indulge our children by keeping up with the latest fashion rages? Is our concern as parents about a child’s stewardship way of life as much as we are about the child “fitting in,” being “one of the crowd” and not standing out? Most children receive some money, for example, as birthday presents or as a standing allowance. How much time is spent in teaching the proper stewardship of that money?

(to be continued)

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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