“Nothing we do as a good steward is more important than our relationship with Jesus. Your volunteerism, hospitality and formation is nothing without the beating heart of stewardship, which is your relationship to Jesus. Jesus is the example steward.”
Many of us find stewardship challenging. At the heart of a good steward is a deep acknowledgement of God’s love, mercy, and blessings in their life and their willingness to give all of it back. Yes, all of it. That is a challenge for many of us. It is clear why Jesus is the ultimate steward. He sacrificed everything.
What relationship do we have in our lives in which we are willing to sacrifice everything? I am sure you might be thinking of a family member, spouse, or a child. You would sacrifice your life for them, right? Now, would you so quickly sacrifice everything for Jesus? Jesus’ unconditional love for me and His sacrifice convinces me that the activities I do with being a good steward must begin with the acknowledgement that a relationship with Him is the first step.
The first pillar of stewardship is prayer. It is through prayer that we can encounter and experience a deeper relationship with Jesus. In fact, if we did not begin with prayer, we would be acting like the Church is just like any other nonprofit. For example, what nonprofit doesn’t ask for volunteers or donations (talents and treasures)? I can’t think of any nonprofit that doesn’t ask good stewardship from their supporters. What Jesus is calling us to be is more than that. Jesus asks for your soul and substance. He asks for your non-renewable resource— time.
When you give of your time, you are giving unselfishly because you will never get that time back. Consider this, if you gave $5 extra to the offertory basket this weekend what are the chances that you would get that $5 back at some point? Probably high because you might get a promotion, or a monetary birthday gift, or perhaps win on a lottery card. However, when we give our time toward deepening our relationship with Him, we prioritize this unselfish gift. You will never get time back. But isn’t that time with God a worthy sacrifice? Despite our busy lives, stewardship of prayer is an act of trust. When you are worried you won’t have time to make it to Mass, make time and trust. When you are worried you won’t have time to make it to Bible Study, prioritize it and trust. When you feel overwhelmed with your calendar, prioritize your relationship with Jesus, don’t squeeze Him in.
Another pillar of stewardship closely tied to prayer is formation. This year at Cathedral we have added a collection of faith formation offerings, from liturgical ministry training and formation to reflections with the priests. Consider joining us! While formation can be done in community, it can also happen at home. When a family prays before meals together or when you offer a Mass Intention, you are being formed into the disciple Jesus is calling you to be. Formation is an ongoing process. As we all know, no one is perfect and surely no one is an “expert.” Yes, even our wise priests have continuing formation! Each of us should be constantly growing, learning, and sharing in the beauty and wisdom of our Catholic tradition.
As you continue to learn about stewardship over the next few weeks, we hope you will take some time to consider the benefits of stewardship as a way of life. You will never regret praying more, serving more, or giving more. In 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8, we are reminded that a life of giving is often a life filled with abundance:
“Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.”
Katie Price is the Coordinator for Discipleship and Stewardship at the Cathedral. She is also working in the Discipleship and Stewardship effort at the Diocese of Springfield. She can be reached at [email protected].