“Be doers of the word and not hearers only...” James 1:22
It’s easy to understand the definition of stewardship living a grateful and generous life. The hard part is doing it! How do your actions reflect God’s word? Do you share your time in prayer with God? Do you use your talent to help those in need? Are you generous with your financial resources? If not, what are your waiting for?
“If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve…As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
When we commit to serve the Lord, we must be willing to become a disciple in the work of the Lord. A disciple is a person who spends time in prayer every day, joyfully participates in charitable works and generously supports their local parish and Church mission. If we say we serve God, we must actually do something and not merely talk about it.
"And Mary said, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior." Luke 1:46
After Jesus, we look to Mary as our model of stewardship. Her entire life lived in obedience to God's will. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, Mary reflects the light of Christ. Like Mary, we too are called to reflect Christ to the world. We do this by living grateful and generous lives. We do this by putting other's needs before our wants.
"Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!" – 1 Kings 19:7
God knows that committing to a stewardship lifestyle is difficult. However, we were not designed to do it on our own, we need His help. Fortunately, God gave us the greatest gift of all, His son, Jesus. Through the gift of the Eucharistic we join our sacrifice of the Holy Mass and receive the strength and courage to be his joyful disciples.
“Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.” – Exodus 16:4
When the Israelites gathered more than their daily portion of manna, the surplus became wormy and rotten. In the same way today, self-reliance, pride and ego leads to hoarding and excessive surplus of goods and money. Living a stewardship lifestyle helps us discern our “wants” from our “needs”. Living a grateful and generous lifestyles reminds us that God will provide all that we need and that we have plenty to share.
"He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." Mark 6:31
Do you spend time, every day, alone and in silence listening to how God is calling you? If not, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to develop a more personal relationship with Him. Unless we talk and more importantly, listen to God every day, how else will we know how He is calling us? Consider making a retreat this year, spend some "alone" time with God.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick - no food, no sack, no money in their belts." – Mark 6:8
Imagine taking nothing but a stick when Think of all the material things "we can't live without" in today's world. We make our life's journey more difficult because of all the material baggage that we drag along. Putting God first in everything and putting our money and possessions second gives us freedom because we don't become "slaves" to wanting to acquire more things.
"As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me, 'Son of man, I am sending you..." Ez 2:2-3
God has a Stewardship plan for each of us. He calls us to do something for Him. But, He doesn't leave us on our own to figure it out. He gives us the resources we need to do His work. Are you listening for God's call? When you hear it, do you get on your feet and do the work He asks of you? Do not be afraid. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called. Answer His call.
"...as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality." – 2 Corinthians 8:14
One of the tenants of living a grateful and generous lifestyle is giving without expecting anything in return. It is important that we not only grow, nurture and share our gifts; but that we also teach our children and encourage others to do the same. This is the communal aspect of our Catholic faith. We are the "Body of Christ". We are called to be dependent on each other and not live in isolation.
"He asked them, 'Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" – Mark 4:40
Do you really trust God? Is God your first choice or last resort? Is your faith something you just do on Sunday or do you live the Gospel message every day of the week? Many of us know about God. How many of us have a personal relationship with Him? Start now, open your heart to receive our Lord. Talk and listen throughout the day, in all circumstances.
"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil" – 2 Corinthians 5:10
We are all accountable for all of the gifts God has given us — our time, our talent and our treasure; everything we have and everything we are. Each of us is accountable not only for our own life but for the lives of others as well. One day God will ask each of us what did we do with the gifts we were given. How will you respond?
"Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them and they all drank from it." – Mark 14:23
Jesus, the perfect steward, gave thanks, just before He gave Himself up for us, completely for our salvation. He offers us the same chance to drink from His cup. In the bread and wine, we meet Christ personally. If we follow Him, drinking from His cup means our own self-sacrifice, using all of our gifts for the benefit of others and to do His work on earth.