“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10.)
“Well done, my good and faithful servants. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:23.)
A Christian steward is “one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, share them in justice and love with all, and returns them with increase to the Lord” (Stewardship: A Disciples Response, pg. 48.)
Stewardship is a spirituality of giving that flows from our response, as disciples, to Jesus invitation, “Come, follow me.” Stewardship involves trusting in God’s goodness and bounty and expressing gratitude for God’s gifts which is evidenced by how gifts are cared for and shared. “For disciples of Christ, Christian stewardship is an obligation, not an option” (Stewardship: A Disciples Response, pg. 48.) Stewardship recognizes all gifts – family, friends, work, income, talents, homes, possessions, time, faith, the whole universe, as coming from God. God entrusts gifts to each of us to care for, and God has the right to ask each of us how we cared for our gifts.
Time, Talent & Treasure
Christian stewardship is traditionally taught as the giving or sharing of time, talent, and treasure.
Time: Time is a precious gift. Each person is given the same amount of time, 24 hours each day, 168 hours each week. The question is, how do we each choose to use our time? Henry David Thoreau once said, “It is not enough to be busy, ants are busy. The question is what are we busy about?” The stewardship of time includes time spent in prayer, time spent volunteering, time spent serving others who are sick, imprisoned, lonely, etc., and all the other ways time is spent.
Talent: Each person is blessed with talents. One of the greatest challenges is in actually identifying talents. God blessed each of us with talents that will better our community. Each of us is charged with identifying and developing our talents. There are several ways to identify your unique gifts. Most people discover their gifts through affirmation by others. St. Austin Catholic Church in Austin, TX, has developed a good online spiritual gift inventory that many parishes and diocese have found useful, click here to access it. The Diocese of Cleveland developed a simple spiritual gift assessment that candidates for Confirmation at St. Mary’s have found helpful, click here for a downloadable/printable PDF. The Catherine of Sienna Institute offers a Called and Gifted Workshop that helps attendees identify their charisms (gift attributes.) For additional help in discerning your gifts or discovering available opportunities to share them, please call the parish office.
Treasure: Most people think treasure only concerns money and tithing. There are over 2300 verses in the Bible about money, possessions, and the right use of them. The stewardship of treasure is how each of us cares for and shares our money and possessions. This includes tithing to the local parish, dioceses and other worthy charities, donating items no longer needed or used, giving away items to those with need, and recycling. We are responsible to choose worthy charities and organizations whose charitable works help those in the greatest need. The traditional tithe of 10% of gross income is rooted in the Old Testament when a tenth of the first fruits, 10%, also called the sacred portion, was given to care for the local priest and place of worship as well as the orphaned, widowed, and foreigner. For some families giving 10% tithe is right, for other families giving 10% maybe too high or low. Each family’s decision to give must be personal and prayerful. Of the amount a family decides to give, the suggestion is half be given to the local parish, a 10% be given to the diocese (Idaho Catholic Appeal,) and the remainder be given to worthy charities or organizations.
Annual Stewardship Renewal or Time and Talent
St. Mary’s is a blessed community. Because of the generosity of many people, we have a variety of ministries and opportunities to serve or reach out to others. Each Fall, to encourage involvement and foster reflection, the Liturgy Committee prepares a time and talent sheet that all parishioners are invited to fill out. Everyone is invited to give how they feel the call of the Spirit. More information about St. Mary’s ministries, and the time commitment involved, can be found on the Stewardship Time and Talent page.
Gift of Treasure
Because of the generosity of the People of God since 1882, St. Mary’s has and can maintain a church, family center, rectory, parish school, and community food bank. We can support our clergy and pay our staff. Our sacrificial giving allows us as the Body of Christ to reach out to those in need in our community, be creative in engaging in faith formation, as well as maintain our facilities. More information about online giving and how to receive or discontinue to receive offertory envelopes can be found on the Gift of Treasure page.