Be a Good Steward!
Stewardship: Loving God with Our Time, Talent, and Treasure
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship means respecting and sharing the earth's resources since everyone is part of the community of creation. Simply stated, stewardship is an expression of gratitude to God. It reminds us that we are the administrators, and not the owners, of our assets. It fills a need deep within us to worship God and to thank Him for the abundant blessings He has showered upon us.
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 ending, and it leads 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.
Matthew 6:31-33: So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
Luke 12:33-34: Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
1 Peter 4:9-11: Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:19-20: My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen
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 and harvest to God. We are reminded always to do this with purity of intention and according to our means.
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, usually during an effort in the parish, each Catholic household in our Diocese 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, one's talent, and one's 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 involves the realization that none of us "owns" time. Each of us is given only so much of it, and 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. 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.
There are many talents that we possess. Stewardship of talent calls us to search out those talents, nurture them, and help them to grow, and then share them with other human beings. Our 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 God given talents for the benefit of others, and doing that brings us directly to our second greatest commandment, "To love our neighbor, as we love ourselves."
The Stewardship of Talent shows us the way to a Spiritual life, a oneness with God through reaching out to another human being. So, the Spirituality of Giving through the Stewardship of Talent is a part of the open secret of living a spiritual life.
Money and all of the things that we possess (our treasure) are gifts from God that we are asked to care for and generously share for our own benefit and the good of others. It is important for us to share our money and all of our material possessions for two reasons: first, because all the good things that God has 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 all of the many blessings each of us has received.
Stewardship of treasure is giving as much as we can, as often as we can, from the heart as a faith response because we are generous stewards who want to share our time, talent, and treasure with others. Frequently, in discussions of stewardship, reference will be made to the "biblical tithe" (giving 10% of income) and other norms that could provide helpful guidelines for generous giving. As disciples of Jesus, each of us has a responsibility to support the Church and to contribute generously to the building up of the Body of Christ.