Stewardship: Time, Talent & Treasure, a deeper understanding
The 3rd “Pillar” of stewardship is Formation – Having considered the pillars of Hospitality and Prayer, we now are able to think of Christian Formation. Inherent to the interior growth in spirituality of every Christian is the profound understanding that we were created in God’s likeness and image, this leads to a healthy desire to give of ourselves in love – to move from selfishness to selflessness. This formation into an intentional disciple is a lifelong task and a journey of conversion of the heart. The more deeply rooted we are in this formation to a life of stewardship, the more deeply we love as God loves. Of course, the first step is knowing what this manner of living means, the final step is living it. Formation always includes an ever progressive (with age and maturity) knowledge and understanding of stewardship since it is a primary means to lead the faithful to holiness. In a practical sense this pillar is built and strengthened first through the ministry of the domestic church with parents leading their children in faith at home. Others contributing to this endeavor are: our Parish Catholic School (SHS), Parish School of Religion (PSR), youth ministry, bible study, catechism study, adult education programs, etc. – remembering that EVERY parish organization, (or “world” as the bishop described in his homily on Sept 22) has a role to play in nurturing the faith formation of parishioners. Formation in faithful discipleship and how to live this way of life is at the core of the intentional disciple’s response to the gift of faith we freely receive from our loving God.
As a household (especially those with children, but all households), how do you consciously make sure that “formation” is a significant part of your life?
Take some time to reflect personally on how the pillar of prayer could relate to and contribute to the pillar of formation in your own life.
The 4th “Pillar” of stewardship is Service. Just as the members of a family come together to help one another, the stewardship parish family pours themselves out in service for others, always mindful that they also have a need to give beyond their own members only. They serve and give in the local community, the diocese and the Universal Church. Failure to live this leads to a selfish emphasis on “my parish” which is life draining to a parish stewardship way of life. Interestingly, if this is the mindset of a particular parish, chances also exist that such a parish does not embrace fully the first pillar of a stewardship parish – hospitality.
In one sense, when the first three pillars of Hospitality, Prayer and Formation are well established the fruit they bear is tangibly seen in the fourth pillar, Service.
At the Last Supper Jesus says, “Do you realize what I have done for you? ….. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you also should do.” (Jn 13:12,15,17). How will I intentionally and practically follow this model in my everyday life?
What pillars are weak in our parish, and how can I personally work to strengthen them?
Conclusion of Stewardship Series
Having reflected on these pillars, with Jesus Christ as the model and foundation from which they arise, let us continue to grow as responsible stewards and intentional disciples.
If you have not done so already, it is critically important to fill out a pledge form for your sacrificial offering of time, talent and treasure (available in both English and Spanish).
Every single household in the parish should complete one — every single year. This is one way to be very “intentional” in our discipleship, looking forward to what we can do and give, no matter how much or how little, in a response which is a beautiful act of “thanksgiving” to God the Father, who sends the Holy Spirit to aid and inspire us, and who calls us to follow in the footsteps of His Son Jesus Christ!