I recently visited with the pastoral council of a local parish. It was the first meeting of the season for the council, and the first meeting for newly appointed members. I was asked to provide a brief introduction to stewardship. After prayer, I asked the group “when I say the word ‘stewardship’ what first comes to mind?”
This particular group’s sharing was insightful: God asks us to care for all that we are and all that is; stewardship is about sharing what we have; it is a faith-response to Christ; stewardship is about using well something that is really God’s. It was heartening to hear such understanding from this council, and encouraging that I have heard similar responses from many groups in the past few years. No longer, it seems, is “money” the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when they hear the word “stewardship.”
This increase in understanding is the result of the hard work, dedication, and leadership of many ICSC members: bishops, clergy and lay leaders. It is borne of consistent efforts to teach stewardship as a way of life. And just as stewardship itself is an expression of discipleship, applied in the daily circumstances of our lives, forming people as stewards requires us to continue to spread the message throughout the year.
I am grateful to know that many of us will gather this month for our annual ICSC conference. This is our yearly opportunity to grow as leaders and as stewards; and most especially, to deepen our lives in Christ. Like the pastoral council with whom I met, we recognize that all we are and all we have truly are God’s. Our time together to learn, explore and grow as stewardship leaders is a way of stewarding well our talents, knowledge, time, and friendship, as people who are committed to Christ’s sacrificial way. Let us take this moment to re-dedicate ourselves as stewardship leaders, trusting in the providence of our good and gracious God in whose image we are created.
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