Stewardship. Is it a season or a way of life?
In the church we all know about the “stewardship season” which coincides with pledge drives to produce the parish annual budget. This “season of the parish” happens once a year with the focus to raise money to run ministries, pay salaries and bills.
But the Bible shows us a different picture of stewardship. Stewardship is not an “annual thing” nor is it about raising money. Stewardship is about dealing with all that God has given us; and how we are to manage it for Him. Stewardship is the work of a steward. A Christian steward realizes that everything belongs to God and we are mere managers of His stuff. A well repeated offertory sentence at Mass is from 1 Chronicles 29:14, “All things come of Thee, O, Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” Amen
So really stewardship is about how we handle our marriage and family life, how we deal with all our neighbors, those we like and also those we may have problems with. It also focuses on our self, who we are and what we are. We see the fullness of life through a different set of filters. Stewardship touches our deepest dreams, our hopes and all we are interested in. Living as a steward of the Christian message makes us examine spiritually and theologically many of our goals and wants and what we labor so much for. A big issue is often how we handle time especially in how it relates to our many commitments and energy spent building and acquiring a certain life style.
Christians who live in the peace of Christ know that such contentment is a choice. They know it “inner peace” is not a reaction to what may be happening around them. Instead, obtaining peace about one’s life is an available decision despite what’s happening around one. Christians find that peace by first investing in the Kingdom of God that is now in their midst. They don’t need to have everything perfect before joy in life is experienced. You can read about this in Matthew 6:25-34.
On the other hand, people of this age are always searching and wanting for happiness. They believe that to be happy and at peace they must always be in a state of acquiring something new or something different. It’s so easy to knock on false and empty doors. Often we find ourselves knocking in all the wrong places.
The Stewardship Chart
The chart above are categories I selected simply to illustrate the comprehensive scope of living as a Christian steward. Many sub-categories could be listed. You might think of other categories could that would better address your life right now.
For me Psalm 8 is a beautiful meditation on 1 Chronicles 29:14, “All things come of Thee, O, Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee“.
When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is Man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of Your Hands; You have put all things under his feet… O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!
Christian stewardship celebrates trust in God’s wisdom and providence. Our loving Father provides us with everything we need. He sustains every particle of nature and life. The animate and inanimate. Everything! A Christian steward lives in gratitude and should always be aware that he or she is a living testimony of God’s providence. That testimony is lived through the values we exercise. A Christian steward is “kingdom-driven”? To live in such a way we must surrender to our heavenly Father’s providence and to His timing and abundance. He has after all, and is, and always will provide for what is needed to care for every soul, the fullness of His creation and all that God has entrusted us with.
Thanks be to God.