STEWARDSHIP

“Let us focus on generosity, or returning God’s gifts with increase,
through the generous sharing of our time, talent and treasure.”  Archbishop Carlson

STEWARDSHIP PRAYER

“Lord, What do you want me to do with all the gifts you have given me?”

Why Do We Need to be Good Stewards in Our Parish?

Every person decides to become involved - to enter into the stewardship journey for a different reason.  While each individual has their own specific call, almost all of the reasons fall into one of five categories.  These are:

  1. We feel God's call in our heart.
  2. We recognize that we build our Church and are ultimately responsible for her continued growth.
  3. We are called to be an example of joyful generosity in Thanksgiving for our many blessings.
  4. Our spirits desire to ignite participation and vitality in parish ministries.
  5. Stewardship enriches our prayer lives, faith and spirituality.

Here is a closer look at each of these reasons.

We Feel God's call in our Heart

Throughout sacred scripture God calls us to be a giving people.  The concepts of giving God our “first fruits” in all things, time in prayer, talents through service and tithing a fair percent, were first mentioned in the Old Testament.  About half of Our Lord’s parables address the proper use of our resourses.  Generous giving in all of these areas is fundamental to our faith tradition.  As the US Catholic Bishops' write in their Pastoral Letter on Stewardship, Stewardship: A Disciple's Response, "Once one chooses to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, stewardship is not an option."

We are Who Builds Our Church   

From the awe-inspiring European basilicas to the smallest rural churches in our own country, all of the churches, schools, hospitals and other Catholic agencies which we take for granted today have been built by previous generations giving generously of their time, talents and treasure.  Auctions, raffles and golf tournaments did not build up the Church and they cannot maintain it.  The Church today was built up because our ancestors in faith understood their responsibility to support the establishment of God's kingdom here on earth.  They made God a priority in their lives and they generously shared no matter how much or how little they had.

Called to be an Example of Joyful Generosity in Thanksgiving for Our Many Blessings

Once we begin to realize that everything we have, tribulation or celebration, suffering or reward, inspiration or perspiration, ALL comes from Our Heavenly Father, we have taken the first step towards becoming a "Good Steward."

We are called to respond to each blessing that God bestows on us by returning a portion of that blessing to him through:  the time we spend in prayer with the Lord and with our family—the family of faith as members of the Catholic Church each Sunday at Holy Mass, and the family of faith at daily prayer in the home (the “domestic church”);  the way we generously choose to share our abilities by volunteering and accepting the invitation to become involved in various activities, ministries and organizations of the Church and parish; and the gift of our first fruits, not the leftovers, to God.  All of us, adults and children, are bombarded with messages and advertisements to spend on ourselves and to make impulse purchases without any thought.  How easily we spend on ourselves, but what about our weekly gift to God?  The weekly offering should be our planned gift—a tithe (10% of one’s income)—which God demands that we give. (Genesis 14:20)  In offering our best gifts, God also assures us that He will not be outdone in generosity:  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse [the temple treasury], that there may be food in my house. Put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure!”  (Malachi 3:10). 

We must return all of these to Our Lord with a willing and joyful heart, just as he bestowed the original blessing on us.

Our Spirits Desire to Ignite Participation and Vitality in Parish Ministries

Without a holistic perspective of stewardship, we find ourselves using all of our time and talent to raise treasure.  Instead of doing ministry to the poor, the needy or the spiritually hungry, we simply seek a financial solution to everything.  In contrast, when we embrace all that stewardship embraces, we are invited to share our individual hearts and talents in many different forms of ministry. New forms of ministry develop when we prayerfully discern what special skills and talents God might be calling us to share with our parish community.

Stewardship Enriches our Prayer Life, Faith and Spirituality 

Ultimately, before we give any time to any other activity, stewardship calls us to give time to God.  When we hear and understand that message, it leads us to spend more time in Mass attendance, Eucharistic adoration, scripture reflection, private prayer and faith enrichment activities.  If we are not spending time with God, we may be good volunteers or good donors, but we are not good stewards.  We cannot be doing what God asks us to do because we have not taken the time to be with Him and ask for His guidance.  By establishing a closer relationship with God, we are able to truly change lives.  As we grow closer to God, we more clearly hear how God is calling us to give more fully of our time, our talent and our treasure.  This is when we can return to him our "FIRST FRUITS"  with deep love for God and true joy in that giving.

**Portions of the above were taken from the St. Louis Archdiocese Stewardship website**

 
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