A true understanding of stewardship begins with taking care of and sharing the gift of time. In a busy society like ours, 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.
Some people say "time is money". Time is much more valuable than money! We have all had the experience of wasting money on poor purchases or bad decisions. We recover from that, but not so with time. Time once spent can never be recovered. God gives us the present as gift to use as good stewards.
Stewardship of time is more than inviting people to spend a few hours volunteering in the parish. It is helping people to look at their lives, 24 hours each day, as an opportunity to serve the Lord and to build up the Kingdom.
Stewardship is a life-long process; following Jesus is the work of a lifetime.
Stewardship of Talent
Stewardship means being accountable for all God's gifts. Stewardship of the gift of talent means nurturing, developing and using the God-given abilities to help define "who we are" as unique individuals.
Our talents are the special blessings that each of us has received from a loving Creator who values the diversity and abundant variety of all creation.
When we volunteer to work for our parish or help our neighbor, we share "who we are" for the good of others.
The Holy Spirit fires our passion to use our talents. For instance, some are passionate about the cause of the poor while others may be passionate about praying and visiting with the sick.
What is your talent?
Stewardship of Treasure
Many of the parables of Jesus speak to us about money or material possessions: the lost coin, the widow's mite, the buried treasure in the field, the rich young man, and the Good Samaritan who gives two silver pieces to the innkeeper. Jesus talks about money because he knows how personal it is to us.
Stewardship of treasure is not about giving to a need, but rather it is about the need to give. Stewardship is living out a commitment to be Christ-centered rather than self-centered. It is important for us to share our money and our material possessions because all the good things that God has made are meant to be shared. We need to return thanks to a loving God for the many blessings we have received.
How much am I expected to give? The question Stewardship asks is, "How much do we want to give!" This means giving from the heart as a faith response.
Who is a Good Steward?
Stewardship is about our response to God's invitation to discipleship. It is what we do after we say, "We believe." A good Steward is:
one who returns God's gifts with increase to the Lord
one who gives joyfully in thanksgiving for all God's gifts
one who lives out Christ's instruction to "love one another as I have loved you"
one who is respectful of Creation
one who is Christ-centered rather than self-centered