“Jesus calls us, as his disciples, to a new way of life—the Christian way of life—of which stewardship is part. But Jesus does not call us as nameless people in a faceless crowd. He calls us individually, by name. Each one of us—clergy, religious, lay person; married, single; adult, child—has a personal vocation. God intends each one of us to play a unique role in carrying out the divine plan. The challenge, then, is to understand our role—our vocation—and to respond generously to this call from God. Christian vocation entails the practice of stewardship. In addition, Christ calls each of us to be stewards of our personal vocations, which we receive from God.
Stewards of God’s gifts are not passive beneficiaries. We cooperate with God in our own redemption and in the redemption of others. We are also obliged to be stewards of the Church—collaborators and cooperators in continuing the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, which is the Church’s essential mission. This mission—proclaiming and teaching, serving and sanctifying—is our task. It is the personal responsibility of each one of us as stewards of the Church.”United States Catholic Bishops
What difference will Stewardship make in my life?
The difference is the motivation for giving. It is so easy to put life on hold and, with it, all of our good intentions, saying: “Someday when I have more time” or “When I’ve reached my goals” or “I’ll give my share of time, talent and treasure, but not right now.” What will we tell those in need of prayer, a kind ear or many other acts of Stewardship? If we all act like this, gifts the Lord has given us will go unshared. Stewardship acknowledges that God is the source of all of our gifts and talents, while we are the caretakers of these gifts.
Where Stewardship has been implemented, both givers’ and receivers’ lives have been changed. True conversion has taken place in the hearts and minds of many who embrace Stewardship as a way of life.
What’s the difference between Stewardship and fundraising?
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus specifically talks about how God wants us to live our lives to help build God’s Kingdom. Scripture talks about what we should be doing with the gifts that God has given us. Stewardship is based on Jesus’ challenge to us to live as God has planned, not on the monetary needs of our parish. Stewardship is based on our need to give out of gratitude to our most generous God, not the church’s need to receive.
Parishes and charities will always have needs. Fundraising efforts are built around institutional or charitable needs (a new roof, a new boiler, renovated buildings, etc.). Good stewards respond to the needs that fundraising efforts address, but they always focus on the primary fact that, as disciples of Jesus who have been gifted by a most generous God and our need to say thanks.
“Happiness lies more in giving than in receiving.”Acts 20:35
What’s the difference between Stewardship and tithing?
In terms of financial resources, Stewardship invites parishioners to give a percentage of their income that represents their sacrifice to the parish and other charities. Tithing is the biblical notion of giving one-tenth (10%) of our money. The U.S. Bishops have given us the following guidelines for giving:
Good stewards pray over and examine their current level of giving at least once a year. The ultimate goal is to achieve the biblical tithe. Giving might be more or less, depending upon what a person or family has concluded through prayer and reflection. The important thing is to take the first step of faith by putting God first. Stewardship is an act of faith and trust.