It is not always convenient to be a good steward, especially when all the temptations of our busy and materialistic world get in the way. Now add our own pride and ego into the equation and living a stewardship lifestyle may be downright uncomfortable! Remember, God didn’t call us to be comfortable. He never said that we would have an easy life. Rather, He called us to be faithful!
Most of us live relatively “easy” lives. We have food, shelter, clothing and money. We go on vacation every year and own a car or two. Most of us take this all for granted. Did you ever notice that people with the least amount of possessions are usually the most grateful? Shouldn’t this be the other way around? Take time every day and thank God for all He has given you and discern how He is calling you to share your gifts.
Many of us compartmentalize our faith, we bring it out only when we attend Mass or when we attend a parish event. Being a good steward requires discipline and striving to put God first in everything - all the time. The next time you are at a neighborhood party or at work or out shopping would your words and actions signal to others that you are a good and faithful servant of our Lord?
One of the main principles of living a Stewardship lifestyle is to give without expecting anything in return. This is difficult for some to comprehend in our “consumerist” culture that we live in. This is even difficult for many parish communities that have become heavily dependent on parish fundraising events to support the mission and ministry of their local parish. Generally speaking, at a parish fundraiser, you pay money and receive something in return, it’s just a financial transaction. This is opposed to our parish offertory at Holy Mass, where you unite your sacrifice with Jesus’, renewing our covenant relationship with Him.
Our cultural standards are different from God’s standards. We often rank people by what they have, how powerful they are, or how successful they are. Jesus reminds us that God will not judge us by the same earthly standards. When God asks you: How have you lived Stewardship? What have you done with the gifts I have given you? How will you respond?
Many of us like to play it safe, not cause waves with our family and friends, especially when it comes to politics and religion. We Don’t want to cause any turmoil. However, many times this is at the expense of the truth. The truth being Jesus Christ. Too many people are misguided because they rely on their own limited human ability to reason and are not allowing faith in God to guide them. Live in Stewardship by forming your conscience; take a stance for life, marriage and religious liberty.
Jesus encourages us to build up our treasure in heaven. The world encourages us to build up our treasure in real estate, investments, and material goods. How much time are you investing in building up a worldly treasure? How much time are you investing in building up a heavenly treasure? To invest more in the things of heaven, you must live Stewardship and let go of some of the things of this world.
The Gospel message is contrary to modern culture that continually tries to convince us that our joy comes from the material things we possess. That the more we acquire, the happier we will be. Jesus shows us that our true joy comes from Stewardship, using our “invisible” gifts like love, mercy and forgiveness. True joy comes from “emptying” ourselves, giving of ourselves rather than always taking. We are called not to hoard but to share. True joy comes from living a grateful and generous lifestyle; become more “God-centered” and less “self-centered.”
Jesus assures us that if we ask, God will take care of what we need. The problem is that our culture often confuses what we really need with what we simply want. The truth is that many of us need very little. However, we usually want so much more! Stewardship is simply being grateful for all that we are and all that we have been given, and generously sharing all of our God-given gifts with others. Generosity is a gift that opens doors to new relationships with others and with God.
We are all called to evangelize - to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel. Our faith is more attractive to others by our actions than by our words alone. We may not be called to evangelize like St. Paul, but we should look for opportunities to share our faith through our actions and words, especially with those closest to us, like our family, friends and neighbors. Pray for the courage to live in Stewardship, joyfully expressing your faith the next time the opportunity arises.
This was Jesus’ command at the end of the Good Samaritan story. Did you know that the Samaritans and Jews despised each other? The moral of the story is to live Stewardship by loving our neighbor. That means loving someone you may not know, or someone that looks different than you, or someone that has different beliefs than you, or someone that you don’t like. All without expecting anything in return.
As Catholics, we are all called to serve. Each of us has been given “charisms” otherwise known as gifts from the Holy Spirit to help build God’s Church. Our charisms can only be used for good. We know that we are using them in the right ministry when we are filled with joy and we want to share stories about our charitable works. Discern how God is calling you to Stewardship using your charisms. Say “yes” to what God is calling you to do and then do it! Share your joy and invite others to do the same.