You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of those you love. This rationale is difficult for many of us to accept. Mothers and fathers routinely place the needs of their children before their own; soldiers at war often throw their own safety to the wind in the interest of protecting their fellow soldiers. The story of Jesus also focuses on giving to others. If Christ calls us to imitate Him – to become completely selfless – then it would seem that focusing on ourselves might counteract our efforts as Christians.
Nevertheless, as we enter into our annual Stewardship Renewal, Fr. Butler is asking us all to focus a bit more on ourselves. No, he’s not encouraging self-centeredness; he’s asking us to examine our own lives and determine the areas that are in need of growth. Before the stewardship way of life can totally transform our parish, it must begin in each of our hearts. As each individual’s spiritual life blossoms and grows, so will our parish as a whole. Will you plant the seed of stewardship in your own heart?
What am I supposed to do with my Commitment Card?
Your commitment card allows you to make commitments to prayer, parish ministries, and offertory giving. It is designed to be used by the whole family.
Time Section: Except for the ill and homebound, everyone should be able to check “Come to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.” Try to check at least a few other items. Daily prayer should be a priority for every person trying to grow closer to God.
Talent Section: You can either sign up for new ministries or re-commit to your current ministries. Be sure to write your first name next to the ministry! This is especially important if the card is being used by more than one person.
Treasure Section: Clearly print how much money you plan to give each week or month to our parish. Try to take a step toward giving five percent of your income to St. John the Baptist.
How are you using the gift of time?
Each day, we are blessed with a full 24 hours. How much time do you budget for God? Does the amount of time you spend with God reflect the importance that your faith has in your life? The best way to get to know God and His will for your life is to spend time with Him. This year, choose to set aside intentional time each day that you offer to the Lord and be faithful to that time.
Are you using the talents that you have been blessed with to honor God and build His kingdom?
Each of us has been given talents. The best way to say “thank you” for these gifts is to use them! Take some time to reflect on your personal gifts and find a way to use them in our parish. How is God stirring your heart to get involved? Take a look at our ministry booklet and choose something that will draw you closer to Christ. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to serve — you simply need to be open to saying “yes” to where God is calling you to use your gifts.
Have you considered planning your offertory gift as a percentage of your income?
It may be hard to see offertory giving as a way to “help yourself,” but when we approach the subject from a spiritual viewpoint, it can lead to individual spiritual growth and an increase in faith. Even the most savvy business person worries about his or her personal finances from time to time. Adding a weekly offertory check to the list of monthly bills may seem crazy but, ultimately, sacrificial giving forces us to cut unnecessary spending, create a budget, and have faith that God will help us make it through the month. All of these are good things for each of us, individually. After faithfully giving to the offertory for a few months, many Catholics find that it’s not only possible to give a weekly offering, but that the fruits of their gift far outweigh the expense.
At St. John the Baptist, we ask that you give five percent to our parish, one percent to the diocese, and four percent to other charities. Why a percentage of income? First, because the tithe (10 percent) is a scriptural benchmark that the Church has honored for centuries (see Malachi 3:10). Secondly, we give a percentage of income because it is a common-sense standard by which everyone can equitably support the parish. Most of all, we give because we believe God comes first in everything, even finances.
Commitment Weekend is September 23-24. Don’t forget to bring your Commitment Card to Mass!