Giving back of our time, sharing our talents, and donating our treasure are hallmarks of stewardship. However, why we give of these resources is essential to understanding where we are on our personal stewardship journey.
Do we give because there is a need – maybe the parish needs a new roof? Or, do we give because we just got a raise and we now have a few extra dollars to spare?
While these are both examples of generous responses to filling the needs of our parish and to share of our newfound cash flow, they don’t exactly fit the key description of being a steward.
Stewardship doesn’t call us to act when we can – when we have extra money or extra time or when we feel guilty. We are called to give back at all times, in spite of our circumstances.
In fact, creating stewardship habits – returning our gifts of time, talent, and treasure out of gratitude – is linked to greater involvement, deeper prayer life, and higher offertory gifts.
The University of Notre Dame Institute for Church Life’s recent study titled “Steps in the Journey to Becoming a More Generous Person,” found that Catholics who decide on a monthly or annual dollar amount give almost double than those who give whenever they can afford it or whenever they feel there is a specific need and give spontaneously. I have found that changing the culture in our congregations is key to creating more purity of intention in living a life as a steward and increasing all areas of giving.