A Letter From Our Pastor: Unwrapping the Gift of Stewardship
Most people associate stewardship with giving. Some think it is a desperate plea by the church asking parishioners to give some of your time, talent and treasure to a worthy cause. Some think it is a noble gesture that identifies a faithful steward, a common occurrence this time of year. And for some, it is an understanding that the stewardship way of life brings joy and blessings to the giver by returning a portion of the gifts he or she has received from God.
At Christmas, when it is most common to give or receive gifts, should this not also be a time when the stewardship way of life becomes the gift that is unwrapped by our consciousness and treasured by our faith? After all, the first gift of Christmas was the gift of God’s own Son. For those who may still be struggling to truly understand the stewardship way of life, that may be a concept that is difficult to accept, even at this time of year. But by living the stewardship way of life, it makes perfect sense to me. And during this season of faith, the gift of stewardship remains one of the blessings of my life as a Catholic, as a priest and as a pastor.
Before fully embracing a life of stewardship, I could justify wasting my time with less-than-worthwhile activities. I could rationalize withholding my talents, because I often thought somebody else would always step up and take care of things instead of me. I restricted or limited sharing my material resources, thinking it wouldn’t make a difference — or worse yet, I thought others could afford to give more than me, because I believed I had already given enough. As each day passes, I remind myself often of how wrong I was in what I did with my time, talent and treasure. But the days for regretting my misunderstanding of the stewardship way of life are over.
Stewardship conversion changes all of that, and the reverse is now true. The more time, talent and treasure that I can give, the more content and joyful I truly am. When is the last time you unwrapped a gift that gave you so much peace of mind and heart? Maybe you have never been aware of receiving such a gift, or maybe God is just waiting for you to unwrap what He has always wanted you to have. Perhaps it is the gift God wants you to have this year for Christmas.
The catalyst for stewardship is gratitude. And, as we recognize that all we have is a gift from God, it lights up our gratitude as if it were a large Christmas tree with too many lights on it to be counted. All we can do is look at it with wonder and awe, thankful for what we see, what we have, and the opportunity to give back something in gratitude. It is more than just a spirit of “holiday stewardship” that seems to be so common this time of year. It is the core of the stewardship way of life, and once that gift is unwrapped, our conversion takes hold and our lives are transformed into faithful stewardship intended by our God.
I hope and pray that you and your family will be blessed during this season of God’s grace, unwrapping the gift of stewardship in your lives and finding joy and peace — both during this season of grace and all year long.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Steven Arisman, Pastor