The Office of Stewardship
In the last module, we learned that Christian stewards are generous with the money they have. They also have a commitment to live simply and with “margin” with both their time and their money.
In the book of Galatians, St. Paul says, “For freedom, Christ set us free.” Christian stewardship frees us. It allows us to own our money, our time, and our talents; instead of falling into the trap of letting them own us. The commitment to live simply (intentionally beneath your means) and to live with “margin” (to not fill your time like you were writing on a piece of paper from top to bottom and side to side, but instead filling your time with adequate “margins” on all sides) are two strategies employed by stewards to live in the freedom promised by Jesus.
People who live lives of generosity and who are selfless in giving to others are inspiring. They are also joyful and enjoy a freedom others do not. These stewards witness to the beauty of living a Catholic Way of Life. Here are two very different stories of such people.
Deacon Greg Sass, who serves at Our Lady of the Black Hills in Piedmont, shared this inspiring story with our staff:
Bzzzz. Both of our cell phones vibrate, indicating we had received a new message. As we both open the message, what we see is a picture of our son holding a baby, and his wife holding their son, who they adopted earlier in the year. No words, just the picture. Did this mean what we thought it meant?
When they arrived home, they filled us in with the details about them being asked if their son needed a younger sibling. Immediately they said yes, then spent the rest of their visit filling out all the paperwork, completing the courses, and all the other things required for another adoption. And within a few days, everything was done and turned in.
Things moved fast then, needing diapers, formula, another crib, clothes, and all the other things that normally you have months to prepare. And within less than a week, they were on their way to pick up this child to add to their family. For us, the first time we held this infant, this child was a member of the family. As they learned to re-adjust their family life with a new infant back in the house, things began to settle down. On the following Sunday evening, they received a phone call from the social worker. The birth father wanted to visit with them, which they welcomed being their son’s adoption was open, and they have ongoing contact with the birth mom.
As the phone rang Monday morning, instead of it being the birth father, it was the social worker. She informed them he had changed his mind overnight, and he wanted to raise the child. Their hearts sunk. When they called to tell us about it, we were filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness. This little child, we had only seen briefly, fell in love with immediately, we wouldn’t be able to watch grow up, be at family gatherings, possibly never see again. There were many phone calls and text messages over the next couple of days. And then our son called to say the social worker would be there Saturday to pick up the child, and if we could come and be with them. They next day we were on the road to support them however we could.
When we arrived at their house, their mood was not what we were expecting. There was a sense of calmness with them. Over the next 36 hours, we took every opportunity to holding this child, show this child how much they were loved. And as the final evening drew near, our son and his wife starting packing up the clothes, blankets, diapers and formula they had received from numerous family members and friends, along with the things they had purchased. As they packed up these things, they talked about all of these things being gifts for the child, and not for them, so they were sending them all with the child, to take along to their new home. Their generosity, their seeing this all as a gift, even the short time this child was a member of their family, made the next day much easier to bare. It made us, as parents, proud of how well they were handling all of this. And then Saturday morning, we took turns telling this grandchild goodbye. Then left the room to allow our son, daughter-in-law and grandson to say their goodbyes.
A few days later, they heard from the social worker again. The transfer went well. This child was joining a similar family with a dad, mom and older brother. And the parents were so appreciative of all the clothes, blankets, formula, and diapers sent with the child. As they, too, were not expecting to have an infant join their family, were unprepared for this change in their lives. They asked the social worker to pass on their thanks and gratitude for our son and daughter-in-law’s generosity.
This is the extraordinary generosity of a Christian Steward, who even in times of grief and sorrow, is able to focus on others and act in a generous and selfless way. Truly free to love without counting the cost.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
“Christian Stewards are always joyful bearers of the Good News of salvation.”
Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response
We’ve looked at the U.S. Bishop’s definition of stewardship, picked it apart piece-by-piece and seen some ways we can live the attitudes and values it implies in daily life. In the Diocese of Rapid City, these are foundational to our three pillars of stewardship: Generous Hospitality, Lively Faith and Dedicated Discipleship. Ways we can live those are next!
Living this Catholic Way of Life
Looking to deepen your practice of one of the four Stewardship Pillars? Click the image of the one below to find the best of our blogs and resources for each pillar.
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