What is Stewardship?

stained1Stewardship is a way of life, a life of accountability and responsibility acknowledging God as Creator and Giver of all. Stewardship involves responsible management of our God-given resources of time, talent, and treasure. It means respecting and sharing our resources as an expression of gratitude to God. It reminds us that we are the administrators, not the owners, of our assets. Stewards as disciples of Jesus Christ see themselves as caretakers of all God’s gifts. Gratitude for these gifts is expressed in prayer, worship, offering and action by eagerly sharing our gifts out of love for God and one another.

Stewardship is based on the spiritual principles of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus. Stewardship is not just a program, or a method of fundraising, it is a way of thanking God for all His blessings by returning a portion of the time, talent, and treasure we have each received. Stewardship is a path to holiness. It makes us more like Christ who came not to be served, but to serve. It is a grateful awareness that all we have and all we are comes freely from God. When we offer our lives back to God in love, He blesses that generosity a hundredfold.

Christian stewardship can be identified by several meaningful characteristics, the most important is that it strengthens our relationship with God. It is a way of life, not a program that has a beginning and an end.  Stewardship calls us to share a portion of our time, talent, and treasure so that the Good News of Jesus Christ may be shared with those who do not know Him.

 

Three Ways to Give: Time, Talent & Treasure

Many times in Scripture we are reminded to be generous with our time, talent and treasure. We are called to take care of others, to share what we have, to return a portion of our gifts  to God. We are reminded to do this with purity of intention and according to our means.

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. —1 Peter 4:10

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides. —Matthew 6:33

You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. —Micah 6:8

Guided by prayer, each Catholic makes a decision to live out the Christian life as a good steward. This decision is an intentional act intended to thank God for all of His blessings by returning to Him a portion of the time, the talent, and the treasure He has given us. Once a year, each Catholic household should plan how the stewardship of time and talent will be a part of its lifestyle and how the stewardship of treasure will be a part of its budget. This plan is then lived throughout the year in a regular, consistent manner.

The stewardship plan includes a commitment to donate a set percentage of one’s time, talent, and income to the Church and other charities.

All we possess is a gift from God. Everything we have is freely given for our own good. This is basic to our faith and is often repeated throughout Scripture. Just as basic and repeated is another truth: we should return a portion of those gifts (our time, talent and treasure) to God in gratitude for the abundant generosity we have received.

Stewardship of Time & Talent 

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Stewardship of time involves the realization that no one “owns” time. Each of us is given only so much of it – planning a schedule that has time to work, rest, play, and pray is vital to our physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual beings.  In our busy society, time is one of the most precious possessions we have.  How we spend our time is perhaps the clearest indication of our progress in a life of Christian discipleship.

Each of us possess many talents.  Stewardship of talent calls us to search out those talents, nurture them, and share them with others. Jesus’ first and greatest commandment is “To love our God with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole mind.” We do that by using our God-given talents for the benefit of others.  Doing that brings us to His second greatest commandment, “To love our neighbor, as we love ourselves.”  Stewardship of talent shows us the way to a spiritual life, a oneness with God through reaching out to others.

We also welcome new ideas through our Fidelis adult formation program and Parish Planning/Growth Committee.

Stewardship of Treasure

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Our money and possessions (our treasure) are gifts from God that we are asked to care for and generously share.  It is important to share our money and material possessions for two reasons:  first, because all the good things that God made (including money) are meant to be shared; and second, because each of us has a need to give.  We need to give our money to individuals and families in need, to the Church, and to other worthwhile charitable organizations because giving money is good for the soul and because we need to return thanks to a loving God for our many blessings.

We often hear the Biblical reference that tithing consists of 10% of our income. Certainly that is the ultimate goal and a wonderful one.  Realistically, most of us start below that and keep trying to increase our giving little by little. All are encouraged to give proportionately to our income and our blessings, and to move up to (and beyond) 10%. The most important point is to set a goal and work toward it.

Suggested stewardship formula for 10% of treasure:

  • 5% to your local church
  • 1% to your diocese (for helping further the broader mission of the church and supporting causes the Bishop is called to support)
  • 4% to organizations and charities that God calls you to support

Five percent may seem like a large allocation to your local church. Remember, your parish is the nonprofit community that helps you carry out Christ’s mission. Any special collections taken at GSP are given to the diocese. Our church provides space, accommodations and support for worshiping, receiving sacraments, evangelizing, learning, ministering and gathering in community; as well as meeting space for 12-step recovery programs. This all requires payment of the same kind of expenses that a home or business has – mortgage, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. It requires paying for the expertise of those who teach, minister and run the day-to-day operations.

Reflection Questions

  • What resources, talents, and abilities has God given me? Do I use them in service to others?
  • If I am to work to be an effective Christian steward, with the help of God’s grace, what will it cost me in terms of personal sacrifice and hardship? Am I willing to do this?
  • How can I be of help to others in recognizing and using the gifts that they’ve been given?