What is Stewardship? It is …
… difficult to teach or practice stewardship, unless we have a clear understanding of exactly what stewardship is. If we wish to embrace stewardship, we must gradually learn to embrace every definition or aspect of stewardship.
All of the teachings of stewardship come directly from the Gospels, the Old Testament and the letters of the New Testament. Stewardship is not a new fad, or environmental word. Stewardship is the way God has expected His people to live since the beginning of time.
Dependence on God:
Stewardship is recognizing that everything we have is a gift from God. We can take credit for nothing. Everything we have and everything we do is a result of some gift that God has placed into our hands.
Stewardship is living a life of gratitude – taking the time every day to recognize the gifts that God has given and to be grateful for them.
Stewardship is returning a portion of our gifts to God. The gifts we return are our time, our talent and our treasure. We return these gifts not because God or our Church needs them but because we feel an overwhelming need to show our love and gratitude to God.
Stewardship is transformative. Once we embrace the stewardship message it changes the way we look at every decision we make. Stewardship becomes a total way of life.
Stewardship calls us to realize that each of us is called to give as God has given to us. We no longer base our giving on what others are giving. We no longer excuse ourselves from giving because we do not see others giving. Rather we give in proportion to all that God has given to us.
Prayer – Spending Time with God:
Stewardship involves spending time with God. Recognizing that every day is a gift from God, we strive to spend some of each day with God, through prayer, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, scripture reading, quiet, meditation and other spiritual activities. During this time we ask God how He wants us to use the gifts He has given to us.
Participation – Sharing Talent:
Stewardship involves sharing talent. Recognizing that God has given each individual unique skills and talents so that together we can do the work of Our Lord, we strive to share our own talents, as well as to encourage and welcome others to also use their talents to participate in the mission and ministry of the Church.
Trust in God:
Stewardship is trusting God. We believe that our generous God will always provide for us. None of us will ever have all that we want, but we will always have all that we need.
Stewardship calls us to recognize that just as in the Parable of the Talents, each of us will someday be asked by God to give an accounting of all that we have done with the gifts that have been given to us. Likewise, parish communities that embrace stewardship must be accountable to the community for the way in which the parish uses the gifts entrusted to it.
Stewardship calls us to be ever grateful for the gifts that God has given. Not only are we called to be grateful to God, but we also must be grateful to one another. Just as we thank God every day, a stewardship parish must also show gratitude, recognition and appreciation to those who have given generously to the support of the parish.
Stewardship is discipleship. We strive to put God first in all things and to follow where Our Lord might lead.
What Is Stewardship?
“A Christian steward receives God’s gifts gracefully, 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.” From Stewardship, a Disciple’s Response – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Stewardship is how we take care of everything God has given to us. God has given us a lot. He has given us life. He has given us family like moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, or others who care for us. God has given us a great world to live in and friends to share it with.
Stewardship comes from the word steward. A good steward is one who does a good job taking care of something. If we want to be good stewards for God, we must take care of the many things God has given us. That includes our friendships and family, our gifts and abilities, our money, and our world. We respond to God’s great gifts by giving back to Him. God is happy when we take care of these things and in return give to Him.
How Can I Be a Good Steward?
Share yourself in prayer, service and giving. There’s nothing too big or too small for God.
God listens to ALL prayers. God is always there, willing and eager to listen to what we have to say.
God gives everyone the ability to do something well. Use your abilities to serve your family, community and church.
Be giving of what God has given you. Give your time, talent and treasure. Give to make your world, your community and your church a better place.
Be trustworthy; be a hard worker; be kind to others; be kind to the earth; be generous; follow the Ten Commandments.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is our direct line to God. We ask for guidance and divine intervention in prayer. We pray and trust God for answers. We rejoice in answered prayers. Prayer nourishes our souls.
When do I Pray?
Anytime! The formal prayers are usually at meal time, bedtime, and at Mass. You can have prayer conversation with God all day long. Anything is okay to talk to God about.
Everyone! You can pray by yourself, with your family, friends, and at Mass.
How do I Pray?
You can pray in conversation with God. Talk to Him as you would talk to your friend. Anything is okay to talk to God about.
Draw your hand:
- Over the fourth finger, write “Praise”. – start your prayer by praising God in words or song.
- Over the third finger, write “Thanksgiving” – thank God for something He has done.
- Over the second finger, write “Confession” – tell God the things you have done wrong.
- Over the first finger, write “Intercession” – ask God to help others who need Him.
- Over the thumb finger, write “Petition” – God hears your voice as you may make requests
- Over the palm, write “Listening” – listen to God
Where do I Pray?
Anywhere! Whenever and wherever you want to pray is the perfect place to pray. You can be sitting, kneeling, standing, and even lying on a bed.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing
Service is essential to the betterment of your home, your parish, and the quality of life of people everywhere. Joyfully accept the responsibilities that come with good stewardship.
Volunteer at Home
- Join your family with a large home improvement project
- Volunteer for a chore that is not assigned to you
- Donate clothing and toys that you have outgrown
- Look for opportunities to help others at home and in your neighborhood
Volunteer at your Parish
- After Mass straighten the books in the pews
- Stuff envelopes for parish mailings
- Volunteer on parish clean-up day
- Join a team that creates special event flyers or holiday cards for the home bound
- Help with the food pantry collections, organization, and the distribution to the needy
- Be an alter server
Volunteer in your Community
- Join your family in service to organizations like St. Vincent de Paul, Habitat for Humanity and many others that serve the whole community in need.
- Plant a tree on Earth Day
- Visit a nursing home or veterans home
Share your stories of giving with your friends and family. Share how you felt being of service to others. Share the reaction of those you served.
Your time, talent and treasure make a difference to your family, friends, parish and community!
1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God’s varied grace
Give – save, spend and donate
- Save for the future
- Spend for the needs of life (home and food)
- Donate to your parish and other charities
- Live every moment with awareness of God’s abundant generosity!
What is tithing? Tithing is giving back to God a portion of the money you have been given. However you receive your money, a job, by earning an allowance or by monetary gifts, a portion is returned to God through your parish.
Your tithe is a gift of faith and spiritual love. It represents an investment in your church community. Your tithe is put with everyone else’s tithe and is used to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. It provides our priests, nuns, church and other buildings, pays employees and sponsors activities.
Supporting your parish and spreading the word of God is very important. It doesn’t matter the size of your tithe it matters that you give back to God as He has given to you.
Have the children bring a small sandwich bag of wrapped candy. Talk about whether each person has enough in their bag to share with everyone. Also discuss whether it would be more fun to eat all of one kind of candy or to try lots of different kinds. Have everyone empty their bag of candy in a large bowl and mix it together.
While they enjoy the great variety that happens when everyone shares their gifts; that’s Stewardship!
God calls each of us to return a portion of our gifts to Him. Distribute small handfuls of wrapped candy to the children. Do not let them touch the candy until everyone has a share. Purposely give more than enough candy to some children so that you arrange to “run out” before you get to the last ones. Then ask them to reflect on the situation. Is it fair that some get no candy while others have lots? Pass the bowl around and ask the children to return a fair portion to share with those who have none. Compare this to the Offertory. Explain throughout life we will always have more than someone else. God asks us to share, or return, some of what He gives us so that we can help others.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.