This year, Bishop Daly has called for something new. He has asked that throughout the diocese, every parish dedicate a weekend to the principles of Christian stewardship. For us in Walla Walla, we will be celebrating Stewardship Sunday next weekend.
Christian stewardship is a simple idea rooted in gratitude. It consists of nothing more than recognizing that everything that we have is a gift from God and to use it accordingly. Stewardship as a way of life is pervasive throughout scripture. Even today we have a poignant example of stewardship in the example of the seven brothers from Maccabees.
The brothers are suffering torture from the king who is attempting to force them to violate the law of God. They needed do nothing more than eat a small piece of pork, but in obedience to God they were willing to lose tongue, hands, feet and, finally, die in order to be faithful to God.
The final words of the third brother are key; willingly extending hands and feet he says: “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disregard them; from him I hope to receive them again.”
The third brother recognizes the truth that even his body is a gift from God and he willing makes a return of it, knowing that God is never outdone in generosity.
Though this is a supreme and ultimate act of true Christian stewardship, the spirituality manifested by the third brother is pertinent to every aspect of our lives. There is nothing that we have or are that does not have God as its origin and end: our bodies, health, faith, family, friends, coworkers, job, money, food, house, car, clothes, education, skills, hobbies, etc.
None of these thing are truly ours. They are first and foremost His. He has entrusted these many good things to us as stewards, as ones who have charge of things which are not our own.
Stewardship asks, how can I use these many things for His service? Do we share our faith with others? Do we encourage family members in their relationship with God? Do we seek friendships that will support us in our journey? Are we examples of Christian virtue to coworkers? When we go to work, do we following the words of St. Paul: “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” Have we used our homes to have bible studies or host missionaries? Do we offer our cars to drive youth to retreats? Do we ensure that the poor have adequate clothing and food? Do we give more of our money to God or to our own luxuries? Do we use our education and skills to serve God and his people? Do we volunteer at our parishes? Are our hobbies pleasing to Him?
There are countless ways in which we can exercise Christian stewardship. As we enter into Stewardship Sunday, we are invited to pray and ask God to help us make a more generous return for the many gifts he has give us.
Praised be Jesus Christ; now and forever!