(This is the third in a series of 12 monthly queries developed by Pacific Yearly Meeting.)
John Woolman [an 18th century itinerant Quaker preacher] said, “As Christians all we possess are the gifts of God … To turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of Universal Love becomes the business of our lives.”
The principle of stewardship applies to all we have and are. As individuals, we are called to use our time, our various abilities, our strength, our money, and our material possessions with care, managing them wisely and sharing them generously.
From the indwelling Seed of God, we discover our particular gifts and discern the service to which we are called. In making choices about occupation and education, consider the way that offers the fullest opportunity to develop your individual abilities and contribute to the world community while providing for you and your family. In daily work, manifest a spirit of justice and understanding, and thus give a living witness to the truth.
Be ready to limit engagements, to withdraw for a time, or even to retire from an activity that inhibits your ability to follow a higher calling. Try to discern the right moment to accept new responsibilities as well as to relinquish responsibility that can pass to others. Be open to your calling in different stages of life. Meetings need the strength and vigor of young people as well as the experience and wisdom of elders. Although they may not be able to contribute great financial support, their energy and insight invigorate the community. As people begin careers and families, they may need the spiritual and experienced help of the Meeting. Later, when families are growing up and careers are established, greater participation in the Meeting and greater financial support may be possible. Welcome the approach of old age, your own and others’, as an opportunity for wisdom and greater attachment to the Light. Meetings should be ready with material and spiritual support for those suffering from unemployment or facing difficult vocational decisions.
How have I been faithful to the leadings of the Spirit in choosing work or vocation?
What am I doing with my talents, time, money, and possessions? Am I sharing them according to the Light I am given?
Is my conduct in the workplace consistent with my life as a Friend?
How does my daily work enhance my spiritual life?
How does the Meeting help and support members who are in job transitions?
(Note: Some queries are intended for individuals. The italicized portion of the queries above is intended for the Meeting collectively.)