What is Stewardship?
Let’s begin by stating what stewardship is not.
Stewardship is not an activity – It is an attitude
Stewardship is not a way to raise money – It is a way to attain holiness
Stewardship is not just a decision of the head – It requires a conversion of the heart
Stewardship is not a topic to learn – It is a process of becoming
Stewardship is not the latest fad – It is biblically based
Stewardship is not an option – It is integral to our Catholic faith
Stewardship is not another thing to do – It is why and how we do what we do
Stewardship is not about our generosity – It is about our response to God’s generosity
Stewards is what we do after we say, “We Believe!” and the realization that Stewardship is not a program, but . . . A Way of Life!
Christ is at the center of stewardship, and Scripture tells us how to be good, responsible and mature stewards. We are all called, through our Baptism, to be saints in our time. To be saints, we have to be disciples of Christ. And to be disciples of Christ, we must live our lives as Christian stewards.
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant also be.” – John 12:26
According to the Bishop’s Pastoral Letter of 1992, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, a good, responsible and mature Christian Steward is:
One who receives God’s gifts gratefully
Cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner
Shares them in justice and love with others, and
Returns them with increase to the Lord
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10
Becoming Christian Stewards
The decision to share our time, talent and treasure with our communion of faith is an important aspect of being a Christian steward. Christian stewardship is the grateful response we make to God’s generosity. We cannot out do His love and generosity for us. The first quality of a Christian steward is being grateful. All that we have, all that we are, and all that we will ever be and are able to do, are gifts from God.
Living a life as a Christian steward involves a deliberate decision to thank God for all His blessings by returning to Him a portion of our time, talent and treasure. Each year, Catholic households in our parish are asked to prayerfully plan and make stewardship of time and talent a part of their lifestyle and stewardship of treasure a part of their budget.
Prayer and the stewardship of Time is the foundation and the first priority of a Christian disciple. Prayer is the beginning of stewardship. Only when we spend time with God in prayer, and reading and reflecting on His Word are we spiritually prepared to offer ourselves to others. All of our time should involve being with God in prayer and worship, sharing our live with family and friends, and volunteering our time in Church and community activities that help others. “Could you not watch with me even one hour? – John 12:26
Every Catholic is called by their Baptism to reach out to love others. God has entrusted each of us with unique skills and talents. We must take time to recognize those gifts and discern how we can offer them to our parish, diocese and community to carry out the mission of the Catholic Church. “Your light must shine before men so they may see goodness in your acts.” – Matthew 5:16
All gifts are from God, including money and our material possessions. We have a responsibility to share our gifts with our family and with others in need. As Christian stewards, we are called to return in thanksgiving a planned and proportionate gift which reflects the many blessings we have received. Scripture also teaches us to give God our “first fruits” or the first portion – not our leftovers. Financial contributions to the parish are vital to support all the operations, and the charitable ministries and mission of the Church. Good, responsible, mature and cheerful stewards strive to tithe at least ten (10) percent to the Lord, and live with the remaining ninety (90) percent. “With each contribution, show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as He has given to you, generously, according to your means.” – Sirach 35:8-9
MOST STEWARDSHIP INITIATIVES FOCUS ON THE THREE “T’S” OR “T3”; BUT, GOD HAS BLESSED US WITH OTHER GIFTS THAT WE HAVE BEEN ENTRUSTED TO NURTURE AND CARE FOR DURING OUR LIFETIME, TO BUILD HIS KINGDOM HERE ON EARTH. THESE GIFTS INCLUDE: