The Office of Stewardship
Christian stewards live by some fundamental principles and attitudes (See Module 1):
- Seeing their lives as sheer gift
- Living from an attitude of abundance
- A willingness to cultivate gifts and share them abundantly
These attitudes lead to generosity and joy, and prepare the Christian to be a fit instrument for the Holy Spirit. But what does this look like practically speaking? How do Christian stewards live these principles and attitudes out in practical ways? This module discusses one key aspect: stewards are grateful.
Living a Life of Gratitude.
Although in some ways, gratitude is a natural product of understanding that God is generous, we can often overlook the ways in which he is blessing us. Gratitude takes practice and a conscious effort. A steward makes a conscious effort to cultivate the habit of looking for the ways they are being blessed. This effort causes gratitude to spring up in their hearts.
Do you find yourself looking at the cup as “half-empty” far too often? Want to work at becoming more grateful?
These short (2 minute) videos summarize how science confirms the benefits of practicing gratitude and gives you some quick hints on how to develop a habit of being grateful. Watch them both to be inspired and to know how to get started:
This slightly longer video (7 minutes) features inspiring short stories and beautiful cinematography. Watch this to be inspired to practice gratitude!
Or just get started with these tips …
How Other Stewards Have Learned to Live An “Attitude of Gratitude”
A simple way to cultivate this “attitude of gratitude” is to remember the adage, “we find what we are looking for”. For instance, I have a friend, Peg, who once told a story about her mother. Growing up, Peg often heard her mother say, “Say 3 Hail Mary’s before lunch on Monday and something good will happen to you before Friday.” Chuckling she shared that I might just dismiss this as foolish superstition, but she believed that her mom, in her wisdom, was simply teaching her children to look for the blessings present in their lives. She set up the expectation that something good would happen and with expectant faith, they would find what they were looking for.
You find what you are looking for.
Similarly, a family friend began their dinner conversation with their kids each evening by saying, “Tell me the best thing that happened today.” Each family member would have to share a good thing from their day. Then the family thanked God for those good things.
Other practices that cultivate gratitude include:
- Sending thank you notes.
- Striving to thank people for simple acts of service and kindness. Thank the grocery clerk, someone who holds a door open for you, the school secretary who greets you with a smile, etc.
- Regularly affirm those close to you for the ways they enrich your life.
- Make a conscious effort to look for the positive in every situation
- Read the Psalms. They are full of thanksgiving to God.
- On your own, resolve to end each day by recalling at least five things you are grateful for from the past day. Share your thoughts with a friend or family member. Or start a gratitude journal. Or write them on sticky notes and stick them on your mirror to remind you of all the blessings you receive each day.
The book 1000 Blessings, a New York Times Bestseller, tells the story of how one woman’s life was transformed by the decision to write down 1000 things she was grateful for. Ann suffered many tragedies in her life. She watched her younger sister be crushed under the wheels of a truck, suffered alongside her brother-in-law as they buried two of their infant sons. She also suffers the many trials of daily life: raising a large family on a limited income, a farmer’s wife, whose livelihood is often determined by things outside their control. However, in the midst of it all, she discovers the secret to a deep interior peace and a joy beyond all understanding – she finds it in a dare to write down 1000 gifts—1000 blessings that she receives in the midst of daily life with all its ups and downs.
Below is the story of one woman whose life was changed by reading 1000 Blessings and taking up the challenge to be more grateful.
“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
Module 3 — I have experienced the life-changing effects of living a life of gratitude. What’s next?
Living this Catholic Way of Life
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