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Answers to Some Basic Questions About Stewardship
WHO is a Christian Steward?
In the 1992 pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, the U. S. bishops eloquently defined a Christian steward as "one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord."
WHAT does stewardship involve?
A conscious, firm decision, carried out by mature disciples of Jesus.
Conversion, change of heart, expressed not as a single action, but in an entire way of life. A recognition of God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom and the source of all that we have and are and will be.
WHERE does stewardship take place?
Stewardship begins in the domestic church (the family) and extends to the parish, the workplace, the local community, the diocese, the universal church and the entire global community. Christian stewards cherish and serve a broad range of interests and concerns: life and health, spiritual and intellectual well-being, material goods and resources, the natural environment, and the cultural heritage of humankind.
Rooted in Scripture and tradition, stewardship is a response to our Baptismal call to be disciples of Jesus and follow His way of life. Since how we choose to spend our time, talent and treasure is a reflection of our values, stewardship is also a tangible way to evangelize.
HOW is the parish vital to stewardship formation?
The parish community facilitates the individual’s spiritual process of conversion by supplying a fertile environment for gift discernment and stewardship formation. The parish provides opportunities for the individual to live out the call to discipleship through prayer, hospitality and service.
What does a Stewardship Parish look like?
The Diocese of Evansville, Indiana designed this answer in their Vision Statement for a Total Stewardship Parish. A Total-Stewardship Parish is ALIVE!
What is Stewardship of Treasure?
Stewardship of treasure, like all stewardship, begins with the fundamental understanding that all that we have comes from God. Stewardship of treasure becomes a spiritual exercise when it is planned, proportionate and sacrificial.
Planned – Stewardship of treasure is an intentional response to God’s generosity. It requires thought and time to formulate a deliberate decision that requires us to focus our values and priorities.
Proportionate – The ultimate goal for stewardship of treasure is the biblical tithe or 10% of the "first fruits." The Christian understanding of tithe is 10% of gross income; 5% to the local parish church, 1% to the diocese, and the remaining 4% to other charities.
This may seem unattainable when one takes into consideration the varying factors that impact an individual’s or family’s circumstances; however, the commonly accepted definition of proportional giving is a gradual move toward biblical tithing. Stewards are asked to begin by calculating the current giving percentage, then to make a conscious decision to increase in small increments.
Sacrificial – Giving from our substance often requires a life change and a re-ordering of our priorities. It helps to remind us of our reason for giving and focuses our attention on God.
In Thanksgiving – It’s no accident that our financial contributions are part of the Offertory at Mass. Eucharist means thanksgiving—offering our financial gifts is an expression of praise and thanksgiving.
Given Freely - A true gift is given "without strings attached" and without any expectation of something in return. Giving unconditionally is a steward’s response to God’s generosity.
What is stewardship of time and talent?
Each of us has been given abilities and gifts to do certain things well and we are to develop them for the benefit of others. We give of our time in prayer and worship, in sharing our love with family and friends, and in volunteering for church and community activities that demonstrate our concern for others. As in stewardship of treasure, the giving of our time and talent should be planned and proportionate.