“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12: 4-5
Each of us has been given spiritual gifts and natural talents and we only have one brief life to make the best of what God has given us. Don’t bury your talent.
Consider carefully what you hear, he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Mark 4: 24
Stewardship Is a Lifestyle
“Stewardship is a lifestyle. It’s not a phase or campaign. Capital Campaigns build buildings. Stewardship builds Parishes.” – John Coyle, Stewardship Director
St. Patrick’s, my home Parish, is becoming a Stewardship Parish. We began this journey with a Time and Talent Ministry Fair. Hundreds of families conversed with volunteers and leaders of Parish ministries for an introductory look at how we live the richness of our Catholic faith and the principals of stewardship through the generous investment of our personal time and talents.
Stewardship – It’s More Than Money
Treasure comprises only one-third of a good stewardship portfolio, which is not complete without the assets of time and talent.
“One of our biggest challenges is in having people believe that time, talent and treasure is not just about the treasure. People will put their money where they put their time and, conversely, they put time where they invest their money.” – John Coyle
In a presentation leading up to the Time and Talent Ministry Fair, our pastor, Msgr. Patrick McCormick, with John Coyle, asked the entire Parish to consider how our domestic family would fare if we put the same amount of time, talent, and treasure into it as we do our faith family, our church, and our relationship with Jesus. For Catholics, this typically amounts to one hour a week set aside for the Holy Mass and, based on the national average; less than one percent of our monthly income.
It’s Not Rocket Science
Stewardship was the topic of conversation at our dinner table the same evening. It’s not rocket science. We got it. We acknowledged that our bodies can’t be sustained on peanuts and our family relationships can’t thrive on one hour of love each week any more than our house can be maintained year round by rubbing two shiny quarters together.
My wife and daughter also pointed out something about my service to the Parish. They told me that I am the Steward of the St. Patrick’s Faith Event Ministry. I’ve been planning and promoting large-scale faith events for more than ten years but I’ve never considered myself a leader or a Steward of ministry.
It wasn’t a coincidence that this personal revelation coincided with the beginning of our Stewardship journey and a Parish Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration that I planned and promoted featuring Catholic singer and songwriter, WiL Frey.
More than six hundred parishioners attended this special Holy Hour.
St. Patrick’s is an Adoration Parish. As Catholic Christians, we understand the value of what Pope Francis refers to as the “deep breath of prayer.” We’re learning about the benefits of investing our time, talent and treasure in His presence. As we become a Stewardship Parish, we’re learning that there’s more to the asset of time than volunteerism. Simply, the more a Steward invests in a personal relationship with Christ, the more fruitful the stewardship.
The Inseparability of Stewardship and Prayer
Stewardship and prayer must remain inseparable so that in Christ we, though many, can form one body.
Jesus is present with us every minute of every hour of every day of every year in every tabernacle in every Catholic Church around the world. He yearns for our love. He lives in the Blessed Sacrament to pour Himself out when we come before Him in this Holy of Holy mystery.
“Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out. The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer.” – Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, #262
You gaze at Jesus and He gazes at you. You give Him your crooked lines and He makes them straight. You give Him your shadows and your darkness and He gives you His light. You give Him your dirty windows and He gives you all the grace you need for a streak-free soul. You give Him your doubt and fear and He gives you courage and strength. You say thank you and He says thank you for spending this time with me. You ask Him to dwell in the little heaven of your heart and He whispers, “I love you. Here I am.”
All this happens in Adoration because the Eucharist is not a thing. The Eucharist is Jesus, the Son of God. The Eucharist is Jesus, who is Love Himself, who, as Perfect Love, mends our wounds, relieves our pain, washes away our destructive addictions, and fills us to overflowing with the grace to be the best mountain-moving Stewards we can be.
From a worldly point of view, placing our trust, time, talent and treasure in the applied principals of Christian Stewardship for our benefit, let alone the benefit of others, seems a risky and foolish long-term investment strategy but, in the words of St. Louis de Montfort “If we do not risk anything for God we will never do anything great for Him.”
What assets of time, talent and treasure need strengthening in your stewardship portfolio?[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yMuexLVBEo&feature=youtu.be”]
Copyright 2014 Brian K. Kravec