What Is Stewardship?
Stewardship, in its simplest terms, is the act of putting God’s priorities before our own. Good stewards give the first portion of their gifts of time, talent and treasure to the Lord’s work in gratitude for his many blessings. This practice of giving our “first fruits” incorporates the aspect of sacrificial giving.
Stewards do four things…
- Receive God’s gifts gratefully
- Nurture God’s gifts responsibly
- Share God’s gifts justly and charitably
- Return those gifts to God abundantly
Becoming a Steward of Christ
Jesus not only calls people to him, but also forms them and sends them out in his service. Becoming a disciple of Christ leads naturally to the practice of Stewardship. These linked realities, discipleship and stewardship, make up the fabric of a Catholic life in which each day is lived in an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord.
The Cost of Discipleship
The way of discipleship is privileged beyond any other. Jesus says, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) But discipleship is not an easy path. “If you wish to come after me,” Jesus also says, “you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. For if you wish to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
The Three Facets of Stewardship
A true understanding of stewardship begins with taking care of and sharing the gift of time. We are only given so much time. Planning a careful schedule in order to have the time to work, to rest, to play and to pray is vital in the stewardship of our physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual lives.
If stewardship means taking care of and sharing God’s gifts, then stewardship of the gift of talent means nurturing, developing and using the God-given abilities and characteristics that help to define who we are as individuals.
Our talents are special blessings that we receive from God. When we volunteer to help others by sharing our talents, we give something more precious than our time or our money.
True stewardship is taking care of and sharing all that we have and all that we are — our time, our talents and our treasure.
Our treasure — both money and all of the other things we possess — are gifts from God that we are asked to care for and generously share for our own benefit and for the good of others.
The Spirituality of Stewardship
Stewardship is living out a commitment to be Christ-centered rather than self-centered. Stewardship gives joy! Those who voluntarily give their time and abilities for work in the parish will always experience joy if they give them for Christ.
Christian stewardship helps us to become aware that God is the ultimate giver of the gifts we have. Our gift to God should be from the top, not from what may be left over. Stewardship is not job-oriented or project-minded. It is a way of life for a lifetime.
Christian stewardship provides a spirituality that all can take home from church, exercise at work, and express through personal involvement in both the community and the church.
The Greatest Gift
Jesus Christ is God’s greatest gift to us. Stewardship tells us to share a portion of our time, talent and treasure so that God’s Gift, Jesus Christ, may be given to those who do not know Him.
“And He called His disciples together and said to them, ‘Amen I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who have been putting money into the treasury. For they all have put in out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in all that she had — all that she had to live on.’” — (Mark 12:43-44)