Stewardship is now understood as a way of life, the faithful response of a Christian disciple to the Lord’s invitation to follow him “without counting the cost.”
In “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response”, the bishops offer four essential characteristics of a Christian steward:
A Christian Steward is: One, who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly in justice with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.
If one is to grow as a steward, one must give attention to these four areas. Stewardship is a way of life, an attitude of the mind and heart that is expressed in action.
~Catholic Diocese of Cleveland
Stewardship Message from Bishop Richard G. Lennon:
As your parish embraces this formation process in stewardship as a way of life, I want to affirm the importance of stewardship within our Catholic faith. Stewardship as a way of life and discipleship is so central to our Church life that I established a diocesan office to support and develop it.
Good and faithful stewards recognize that God is the origin of life, the giver of all we have, are, and will be. As Catholics we believe that all we have in our lives has been entrusted to us by God. Notice, I said “entrusted” not “given”. What I mean by this is that our relationships, our work, our time, our possessions, and our very life itself, are all given to us by God not to become our possessions, but to be our means for life and instruments for building the Kingdom on earth. Good stewards recognize that we are responsible to God for the manner in which we use all that he has entrusted to us. (more)
Stewardship of Time
No gift is greater than time, and yet nothing is so easy to waste. Contrary to our cultural norms, good Stewardship of time doesn’t mean being busy all the time. Time spent in prayer, nurturing relationships with our family and friends or just enjoying the beauty of the world around us is time well spent. In fact, taking “time out” to nourish ourselves spiritually can be the best thing we can do to deepen our relationship with God.
Stewardship requires the spiritual use of time. To the Christian steward motivated by love of God and mankind, there is a practical understanding of time. Recognizing that each instant of the day has been God-given, the Christian steward understands that the application of his time need not be confined to the use in strict liturgical formality but should be applied to a liturgy of Christian living throughout the day, as well.
A simple commitment upon awaking each day to make every minute of the day dedicated to a love for God, and a simple commitment of thanksgiving at the close of each day provide the guidelines for using time in a Christian sense all day long. These guidelines set the pace for action and reaction in every effort. By following these guidelines – spirituality, grace, hope, love, charity, compassion and justice will be derived whether the action takes place within the family, at school, in business, at one’s trade, in social life, or even in leisure.
At the very least, parishioners should make the most of their observance of the Lord’s Day. Even more, people will grow in their faith by spending time in daily prayer.
Stewardship of Talent
Each of us has varied talents. Talents include being a good listener, being able to organize people, relating well to children or teens, being patient with others and numerous other less-recognized gifts. Our gifts often change during our lives: in our youth our gift may be energy; when we’re older, it may be knowledge. We are each one-of-a-kind creations of God with unique contributions to make in this world.
The Stewardship of talent calls us to search out those talents, nurture them, and help them to grow, and then share them with other human beings. Our first and greatest commandment, “To love our God with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole mind.” We do that by using our God-given talents for the benefit of others, and doing that brings us directly to our second greatest commandment, “To love our neighbor as we love ourselves.”
We are often held back from recognizing or sharing our gifts because of a narrow definition of “talent.” We think “talented people” are extraordinary achievers or have easily identifiable gifts, such as musical ability or artistic talent. We must remember that each one of us was created by God and was given the ability to serve God and each other in some way.
As Christians we recognize that our gifts of talents and skills are meant to be cultivated and shared with others, beginning with our family and friends, with our parish community and with the world. Sharing the gift of ourselves is how we express our gratitude for being created as a unique and gifted people.
St. Paul reminds us: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different talents . . . but the same God gives talent to everyone.” (1Cor. 12: 4-7)
Stewardship of Treasure
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be also.” Matthew 6:21
When it comes to spirituality, things of the heart, money matters. How we use money, what we think of it, whether we are willing to share it – all make a difference in the way we live our lives, because, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Catholics are called to give witness to the Stewardship of treasure in and through support of their parish communities and through the larger diocese in which they live. Of course, this means contributing to the support of the parish –and to its many ministries. But Stewardship of treasure means much more than church support. It means accepting money – and all the material things we possess – as gifts to be cherished and shared, not for their own sake but for the good of others, especially our families, our communities and those whose needs are greater than our own. Catholics are invited, and challenged, to make gifts to the parish and the diocese that are planned, proportionate, and sacrificial -- not simply because, “They need the money,” but because each of us has a need to give, as God has given generously to us.
Diocese of Cleveland