Yesterday was the 7th Annual Stewardship Day in the Diocese of Rochester. Representatives from parishes throughout the diocese gathered to listen to speakers about stewardship. The main speaker was Susan Erschen of the diocese of St. Louis where she is the Director of Stewardship Education.
She defined stewardship as recognizing that everything we have is a gift from God, that we are grateful for the gift, and that we have something to share from our time, talent and treasure. She presented a model of successful stewardship in two components, teaching stewardship and practicing development. Some parishes will teach Stewardship but don’t put it into practice while other parishes may have people who generous stewards giving of their time, talent, and treasure but never talk about why we should be stewards. A vision of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus is never developed.
Stewardship is a way of life. It is about developing our relationship with Jesus Christ. Another way she stressed stewardship vs. development is that development is about what we do while stewardship is about who we are. We can easily do something for the sake of doing it without it having a deeper meaning.
We are not called to give of our time, talent, and treasure just because it sounds good. We are called to be stewards in Jesus’ commandment to love one another. God has given each of us gifts, not simply for our own good but to work together to make the world a better place.
What gifts do you have that God is calling you to use to help make his love known and so that the world may be a better place?