Most people associate “stewardship” with giving. Some think it is desperate “plea” for giving some of your time, talent and treasure to a worthy cause. It may be a noble gesture of generosity which identifies a “faithful steward” so common at this time of year. For some, there comes an understanding of the stewardship way of life, which brings joy and blessings from giving back a portion of the gifts received from God. At Christmas, when gift giving and receiving is most common, should it not also be a time when the stewardship way of life becomes the gift that is unwrapped by our consciousness and treasured by our faith? After all, the first gift of Christmas was the gift of God’s own son.
For those who may be still struggling with understanding the stewardship way of life, that may be a stretch for them to accept even at this time of year. But by living the stewardship way of life, this makes perfect sense to me and in this season of faith, the gift of stewardship remains to be one of the blessings of my life as a Catholic, a Priest and a Pastor.
Prior to having such a desire to live the stewardship way of life, I could justify wasting my time with less than worthwhile activities, withhold my talents because I often thought that somebody else would, could or should do it instead of me, and restricted or limited my material resources, thinking it was never enough, too small to make a difference or even worse, I thought others could “afford to give” more than me because I believed I had already given enough. As each day passes, I remind myself often of how wrong I was in what I did with my time, talent and treasure. But the days for regretting my misunderstanding of the stewardship way of life are over.
A Stewardship conversion changes all of that and the reverse is now true. The more time, talent and treasure that I can give, the more content and joyful I honestly am. When is the last time you unwrapped a gift that gave you so much peace of mind and heart? Maybe you haven’t ever been aware of receiving such a gift or maybe God is just waiting for you to unwrap what He has always wanted you to have. Perhaps it is the gift God wants you to have this year for Christmas.
The catalyst for stewardship is gratitude. And as we recognize that all we have is a gift from God, it lights up our gratitude as if it were a large Christmas tree with too many lights on it to be counted. All we can do is look at it with wonder and awe and be grateful for what we see, what we have, and the opportunity to give back something in gratitude. It is more than just a “holiday stewardship” which seems to be so common at this time of year. It is what is at the core of the stewardship way of life and once that gift is unwrapped, our conversion takes hold and our lives are transformed into faithful stewardship intended by our God.