Stewardship involves all of life.
People often speak of stewardship in terms of Time, Talent and Treasure, but the truth is that stewardship involves all of life – body, mind and spirit, our material possessions, friendships, all we have. All we are and have is a gift from our Creator for us to use wisely and un- selfishly to build up God’s kingdom here on earth. Sharing our precious time, our energies and abilities, and our material resources must include the Christian virtues of prayerful- ness, sacrifice and mercy. Although there is no law about tithing, it remains a rich tradition that is suggested by many Church leaders to help us establish a guide and a personal goal of how we plan to share our goods. Consider not only the idea of a financial tithe – what would it look like if we were to take what “free” time we have and commit a certain percentage of it to do works of mercy, or prayer?
If we were to speak more in terms of prayer, sacrifice and mercy perhaps we would recognize these as more than just a pressing need in our lives. Actually they are duties, and performing them is joyful for every true disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, whose own prayerful suffering and death on the Cross redeemed the world in love.
Virtues are good habits, disciplines, which order our desires and help us to practice a healthy self- denial in all aspects of our lives. Disciples intention- ally embrace spiritual and physical disciplines such as fasting and almsgiving, and generosity and loving kindness in order to make Jesus visible in our every- day world. They are also beneficial to us, personal- ly: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). The practice of mercy involves offering our time and talents to those in spiritual or physical need, as well as giving alms and supporting the programs that advance the mission of mercy of the Church.
One priest pioneer in Wichita, Kansas, said once in a Catholic stewardship conference, “Even if our parish had no financial need of a Sunday offering, we would take it up any- way and go out back and burn it. Why? Because you can’t be a follower of Christ and not be one who gives.”