By Jocelyne Hamoline, Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation
[SASKATOON] – Stewardship seems to be a word that many Catholic Christians dread. We experience fear, panic, frustration, and are often turned off when we hear this dreaded word.
Why is this? Do we think that stewardship is only about money? Is it because we are afraid that stewardship demands a response from us – to do something or be involved?
The word Christian is used three times in the New Testament (according to the New Standard Revised Version, NSRV, in Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch because their behaviour, activity, and speech were like Christ. The word “Christian” literally means “belonging to Christ.”
A disciple is a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. We, as people belonging to Christ, are followers of Christ – we are students of his life and how he lived. We adhere to the teachings of Christ. A Christian disciple is someone who learns from Jesus and desires to live like Jesus — someone who, because of God’s awakening grace, conforms to the words and ways of Jesus.
So, what is a steward? In Jesus’ time, the steward was the manager of the household. The steward was not the owner of the assets, but a responsible administrator of the owner’s property.
Stewardship began in the beginning when God said, “Let us make humankind and let them have dominion over all” (Genesis 1: 26-28).
Scripture proclaims in the Old and New Testament that everything belongs to God and all who live in it belong to God (Psalm 24:1). All of creation – man, woman, child, nature, and all of “our stuff” – belongs to God. And how should a person care for what belongs to someone else? With love, care, and gratitude.
Stewardship is a grateful response and a way of life. As people who belong to Christ and who are students of Christ, as stewards, we recognize and receive God’s gifts and then share these gifts out of love for God and neighbour.
Gifts from God that we receive and share include prayer (time), vocations, creation itself, care of the church, care of our neighbour, the dignity of each person, the Gospel, natural resources, ministry (talent), finances (treasure), faith, and so on.
Stewardship implies relationship – with Jesus and with others, our relationship with money and our stuff, our relationship with our Church and our workplace, our receiving and our giving.
Stewardship is an act of love, a response to God’s love. We are called to live with gratitude, sharing our blessings, giving back to God from the first fruits from our labour, and sharing our giftedness. We belong to Christ, we are followers of Christ, but are we adhering to Christ’s way of life – a life of stewardship?
If you wish to learn more about the spirituality of stewardship and a stewardship way of life, or to obtain more information for your parish, consider attending the 2019 Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference to be held June 6-8, 2019 at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon, sponsored by the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
All are invited: clergy, lay persons, parish staff, diocesan staff, religious, development officers – all of God’s children. The theme of the conference is “Go, Make a Difference.” See the Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship website at: wccsc.ca