What is Stewardship?
Often times when we hear the word “Stewardship” we associate it with money. Stewardship is more than money. It is more than the concept of giving of our time, talents and financial resources. Stewardship is a Way of Life. It is recognizing that ALL we have is a gift from God, and because we are SO grateful for what we have received, we freely share those gifts with others.
Stewardship is an expression of discipleship, with the power to change how we understand and live out our lives. Disciples who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and are and will be. They are deeply aware of the truth that “The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it” (Ps 24:1). They know themselves to be recipients and caretakers of God’s many gifts. They are grateful for what they have received and eager to cultivate their gifts out of love for God and one another.
The Call to Stewardship
Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ leads naturally to the practice of stewardship. These linked realities, discipleship and stewardship, then make up the fabric of a Christian life in which each day is lived in an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord.
One who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.
Following Jesus is the work of a lifetime. At every step forward, one is challenged to go further in accepting and loving God’s will. Stewardship plays an important role in the lives of people who seek to follow Christ. Christians must be stewards of their personal vocations.
Catholics have a duty, too, to be stewards of their church: that community of disciples, that Body of Christ, of which they, individually and together, are the members, and in which “if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1Cor 12:26).
Questions for Reflection:
- What is my unique personal vocation to which God has called me?
- What gifts has God given me?
- How do I/can I recognize the Lord’s invitation to share my gift with others?
- What are the obstacles to my responding freely to the invitation to share my gifts?
- What responsibilities do I have as a disciple of Jesus?
- What personal experiences have I had that helped me live my life as a disciple?
- How is stewardship more radical than just sharing of time, talent and money?
- If I were to be the ideal Christian steward, what would it cost me in terms of personal
sacrifice and hardship?
- How am I reaching out to invite others to recognize their gifts? What opportunities do I provide for them to use those gifts in service of others?
Lord and Source of All Gifts, we, your people, rejoice in the fullness of Your generosity. We thank you for those whose lives are visible signs of your love and blessing to others. Give us the courage to do the same. Make us good stewards of all we have received, generously sharing our time, talents and treasure to build your kingdom of love and justice. We ask this through Jesus Christ in whom we begin and end all things. Amen.
Good Shepherd depends on it's parish family for support to cover operational costs which include utilities, employee salaries and benefits, programming expenses for all departments and maintenance of our building and grounds.
Parish members receive a monthly mailing which includes a Stewardship Letter serving as a vehicle of communication, a current record of your contributions and a return envelope for your regular contributions. It may also include event fliers or other inserts sharing stories of parish life.
Good Shepherd sets aside a percentage of our regular income to be given to causes and organizations that serve the poor in one of these four areas: direct service, empowerment, advocacy or justice education. The Outreach Committee, using carefully discerned evaluation criteria, meets quarterly to determine which local, national or global causes will receive donations from the percentage set aside.
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