Stewardship is not a program or formula. Very simply, Stewardship is a Way of Life. Stewardship is understood as living fully our Christian life. We do this by seeing and accepting everything that we have and everything that we are as a gift from God. We show our thankfulness to God by being better stewards of these gifts, and using them wisely.
Stewardship of Time means our Christian use of our time in supporting the Church. It can be something as simple as visiting the sick, or helping a parishioner with a ride to Church on Sunday.
Stewardship of Talent means our Christian use of our talent in supporting the Church. Some help by maintaining our Church grounds and landscaping. Some cook for parish events.
Stewardship of Treasure means our Christian use of our money in supporting the Church. We do this with our regular, generous donation of our income for the upkeep of the Church, the poor, and the continuation of Christ’s work through His Bride, the Church.
Stewardship of Prayer means our faithful prayer to God: Father, Son & Holy Spirit. And thanking God for everything that he blesses us with, regularly and frequently.
When we hear people urging us to wisely use and protect our natural resources and environment, let‘s remember that the Earth and nature are gifts from our Lord and Creator. We, as stewards, have the responsibility to care for His Creation.
Generations of Catholics have given of their Time, Talent, and Treasure, practicing stewardship without even hearing the word. And because of these people, the Church has prospered in our nation. Churches, schools and hospitals were built, services rendered, and programs conducted by the countless number of clergy and religious that God blessed us with. Throughout most of this century, we enjoyed years of growth and prosperity.
The situation today, however, is different and changes are occurring quickly. The Church is beginning to struggle financially. We are beginning to see Church and school closings or consolidations.
We are also seeing fewer priests and religious to render services. Catholic giving, which unfortunately was never great (we did it with our large numbers of Catholics), is worse than ever, especially in large, poverty-stricken inner city parishes. And with fewer churchgoers, slumping collections, and rising expenses, stewardship was the inevitable response.
The practical reason is the urgent need for human, physical, and financial resources to carry out the Church’s ministry. Simply put, there aren’t sufficient funds without our sacrificial giving.
The spiritual reason is our need to be good, thankful stewards of our God-given abundance and live as disciples of Jesus in our consumption-oriented culture.
I hope you continue your activity in, and generosity to, the Church as a true steward and disciple of Christ. You are already living the spirit of stewardship.