You have been hearing the word “stewardship” more frequently, and may not know what to think. Doesn’t stewardship apply only to “do-gooders” in the parish? Or maybe you have tried stewardship by saying occasional prayers and dropping money in the collection basket from time to time. By now, you may wish people would stop hounding you about stewardship and give you some peace. You are just trying to live a good Christian life, right?
Wherever you fall in your understanding of stewardship, thoughts like these have no doubt crossed your mind. As you evaluate your role as a steward, you may find yourself wondering why you even need to participate in the first place, or how you can possibly give more of yourself to God when you are already pressed for time, energy and money.
As you try to answer these questions, the first thing to remember is that God is the source of the “three Ts” of stewardship — our time, talents and treasure. If it were not for God, we would not have any of these. Then, focus on how you are receiving His gifts. Do you feel entitled to all He has given you, and perhaps demand even more from Him? Or do you thank Him for His abundant generosity, and as a sign of your gratefulness, return a portion back to Him?
God, in His infinite love and mercy for us, grants us these gifts during our time on Earth, even though we do not deserve them. As a sign of appreciation, we can give Him a return on His investment. If God gives you a free Saturday afternoon, you could take your kids to Confession instead of watching sports on television. If God gives you cooking skills, you could prepare a meal for a family with a newborn baby instead of going shopping. Financial choices are applicable to stewards, as well. Do you waste your financial resources or take them for granted? Do you carefully think what portion you should return to God?
However deep your understanding of stewardship, remember that it is not a rule or mandate — it is an invitation. No one is “forced” to live the life of a good steward. Our realization that God has blessed us — wherever we are in our faith journey — should drive our yearning to give back of our time, talent and treasure. Out of love for our Creator — and to continue to grow in His love — we should desire to give stewardship, as a way of life, a try.