We like to celebrate that we are free to “live the good life.” We can do what we want, anytime we want, with no regard for laws. But, Jesus calls us to Stewardship. St. Paul reminds us that by imitating Jesus we are freed from becoming a slave to our own self-interests and desires, so that we can serve one another. We are free to share our gifts and promote God’s work on earth to glorify His name and not honor ourselves.
The story of the Loaves and Fishes shows us that when you share what you have, even if it doesn’t seem like that much, miracles can happen! Do not think that your Stewardship gift is too small or insignificant! Each of us has a role in God’s plan; you just need to place your trust in the Lord. Nothing is impossible with God. You may be the answer to someone else’s prayer.
Stewardship teaches that the best gift we can give someone is to teach them how to pray. If you don’t talk and more importantly, listen, to God every day, how else will you know what He is calling you to do? Just as you talk to family and friends every day, get in the habit of talking with God every day. Develop a daily prayer routine. Keep your prayers simple and sincere. This is best done in silence, when you can hear His response.
The materialism of our society lures us to concentrate more on what we want than on what God wants for us. The relativism of our world tells us that we should be tolerant of all things, that there is no absolute truth. As Stewards we should pray to the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and to guide our thoughts, words and actions. What you put in your head, heart and mind affects your actions. Put good things in and good things will come out.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13)
This is a reminder of how we as Christian Stewards should live our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – putting God first in all that we do. Not only when I am at Mass and parish activities, but when I am in the world, at work or at school. Living gratefully and generously is an intentional lifestyle. Every decision you make either moves you closer to God or farther away. Choose wisely!
“…Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
Our limited human understanding cannot begin to understand the immense power of God. Instead of trusting in God, we often think we can control every outcome. Do you want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans. The next time worry, anxiety or fear creeps in, thank God for all He has given you and trust that He has a Stewardship plan for you. Make God your first choice and not your last resort.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (John 13:34)
“As I have loved you,” this is the hard part - Jesus’s love is unconditional; our love usually comes with strings attached. It is easy to love someone when they love you back. But it takes the Stewardship of mercy and compassion to love someone when you feel unappreciated, feel used or feel like your opinion doesn’t matter. It takes courage and the grace of God to “love my neighbor” when they may be someone you don’t like, someone you don’t know or someone that doesn’t look like you.
“The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52)
The disciples heard Our Lord’s call and were able to spread the Gospel message with strength and vitality. We, too, can experience that same joy if we make room for the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts. When we live Stewardship by using our gifts in the way that God intends, He fills us with supernatural joy. A joy that others notice and are attracted to!
“…Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’” (John 21:17)
How often do you actually say the words “I love you” to Jesus, to family members, or to friends? We are made to be in relationship with God and each other. Sincerely telling someone that you love them is the best gift you can give them because it comes from your heart. You are giving them the gift of yourself. We all crave love. Live your Stewardship by telling someone you love them every day.
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’” (John 20:21)
Peace the first gift of the risen Lord. Just as Jesus sent the apostles out into the world, so too, He sends us. As Stewards of Jesus, we are called to be compassionate and merciful; and not with just those who are our friends, but also with our “enemies.” Think of someone in your life who you need to reconcile with. Call them right now or better yet, go visit them.
“…He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)
We can’t give what we don’t have. Open your heart to receive God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. Then, show the same to others through your Stewardship. As God’s adopted sons and daughters, we are made in His image and likeness. As Pope Benedict XVI says, “we are made for greatness.” Let our lives reflect His light to others. Pray to live a grateful and generous life. Strive for greatness! We are made for more! We are made for God!
“…I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:34)
How many times have you heard someone make a disparaging comment about God or our Catholic faith Stewardship? How did you react? Do you remain quiet not to cause a disturbance? Or, because you don’t want people to think negatively about you? Or, because you don’t think you know enough about the Catholic faith? Pray for the courage to speak up and enter into a respectful dialogue when the opportunity arises. Joyfully share your faith with others.
“…For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” (Philippians 3:8)
The first commandment says that we should not put other gods before the Lord. Living Stewardship by sharing all of our gifts our time in prayer, our talent in charitable works and our treasure to support the Church helps us keep God first in everything. It helps us from putting other gods before God. It helps us from becoming a slave to our possessions. It helps us to use our gifts for the glory of God and not for the glory of ourselves.