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STEWARDSHIP

In biblical usage the management of whatever a person is entrusted with, not only to preserve but profitably administer for his master, ultimately for God. Christ proposed the faithful steward as model for the responsible Christian (Luke 12:42). The Apostles are chosen stewards of the divine mysteries (I Corinthians 4:1-2), and every Christian is a steward of the mysteries of God (I Peter 4:10). Jesus praised the unjust steward of the parable, not because he was dishonest but because of his foresight, since "the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light" (Luke 16:1-8). This is the ultimate lesson of stewardship: that a human being is not owner but only custodian of God's gifts in this world, to use them and produce with them the fruits of eternal life. (Etym. Old English stigweard, "keeper of the hall": stig, hall + weard, keeper.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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