Reflections on Stewardship
“God’s ownership of everything also changes the kind of question we ask in giving.
Rather than, ‘How much of my money should I give to God?’
we learn to ask, ‘How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?’
The difference between these two questions is of monumental proportions.”
Richard Foster, Money, Sex and Power: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life, San Francisco, Harper & Row 1985
“Everything we have is God’s gift to us. What we do with it, how we use it, and how we share it with others, is our thankful response. These, then, are our gifts to God.”
Paraphrased: Anita L Wheatcroft, Share the Gift, Morehouse Barlow Co, 1979
“As stewards of God, we are invited to join God’s action, God’s mission in the world. We are Christ’s body, God’s sacrament, so that God can be present in human life and history, caring for the world. The more we are given, the more will be expected of us. We are to manage life in the interest of accomplishing God’s will.”
Our annual Stewardship renewal begins today, the time of year when we are all of us, clergy and lay alike, invited to reflect on how we may best respond to the generosity of our ever-giving Creator in the offering of ourselves, our time, our talents, and our money, as a sign of thanksgiving for all that we receive.
It is this thanksgiving which is the basis, the rationale, of stewardship, not simply the need to meet the bills and pay our way, very real need though that is! As we believe generous giving is the hallmark of our God, evidenced in the work of creation and the gift of life, and above all in the giving of God’s very self for the creation and for us in Jesus Christ, so giving of ourselves and of our resources is to be at the heart of the Christian life, as the church and as individuals.
Tithing, giving a tenth, is the Old Testament standard for the people of Israel: some of this income was used for the common good, a form of community tax. Many Christians use this as a guide for their giving, looking at disposable income and giving a fixed proportion to charity and to the church, bearing in mind, of course, family responsibilities. In this Stewardship season each of is encouraged to review and renew our giving commitment. For many of us, 10% will not be a practical option; nonetheless it is helpful to have a realistic idea of what we are able to give over the year.
At Coffee Hour on the next three Sundays there will be a short “table-talk” on different practical aspects of Stewardship, and an opportunity for questions and conversation. Then on 26 November, the Feast of the Reign of Christ the King, we are invited to return our commitment cards. There will be “Coffee and Pie” after High Mass, with some light music too, to continue our fellowship and thanksgiving.
As usual during November I shall be writing to all our members. Also, the Reflection in the Sunday bulletin (which will be included in the email Thurible) will have a Stewardship theme. Please read these Reflections and meditate upon them in your prayers.