In my previous articles, we looked at the spirituality of stewardship beginning with a look at the four core values which include: Identity, Trust, Gratitude, and Love. I also pointed out that the spirituality of Stewardship deals essentially with how we use our Time, Talent, and Treasure. I insisted that in order to be good stewards in our use of these gifts, we must have good and personal relationship with our God, which is what we are trying to build by making Stewardship a Way of Life here in our Parish. I used the analogy of the relationship between a husband and wife. I pointed out that if a good relationship exists between a couple, they would not calculate how much time they would like to spend with each other, or how much of their skills and talents and intelligence they can share between their work and each other, nor how much percentage of their money they would calculate to buy gifts for their spouses. I argued that this would not be an issue at all.
In the case of God and us, this relationship should be based on the realization that EVERYTHING that we have is a gratuitous gift from God which we must use to glorify Him and to serve our neighbor and our Church. We then looked at the Stewardship of Time and Talent. In this article, I would like us to look further at the Stewardship of Treasure.
From the onset, I would like to agree with Fr. Kemberlin, whom I will continue to use extensively in these articles, that Treasure is indeed EVERYTHING we have received from God. Not just the food, cars, houses, clothing, education, family…Everything, including your Church, St. Andrew! All these are but GIFTS that God has given to us.
However, the conventional misleading notion that our society has is that when we become "self-sufficient" materially speaking, we think that we have achieved things all by ourselves. We think: I AM the one providing for myself and my family because I AM the one making the money, I AM the one paying the bills, I AM the one who worked hard for all this. I suspect that this logic is behind the common phenomena we witness in our society today which keeps most "rich" and "selfsufficient" people away from Church or even from acknowledging the existence of God altogether. And, some who keep some connection with their Church give very minimal contribution to support their Churches, either on Easter or on Christmas only.
The correct stewardship notion for appreciating our material "self-sufficiency" should instead be derived from acknowledging that God gave all those things to you. He gave you your life, your breath, your intelligence and gave you everything that enables you to have your job and keep it, He gave you your health. Yes, God has given you the greatest country in the world with the largest economy - America….God bless America! God has blessed America. Indeed, now as an American, born and raised in a third world country, I truly believe this, that we are indeed blessed most abundantly. I believe too that if we get rid of our greed and false "self-sufficiency" and look with humility and gratitude at all that God has given us as a country and as individuals, we will realize how incredibly blessed we are- and we will be generous. We will still realize how God keeps on blessing us.
We shall share more about this Stewardship of Treasure in our next article but before I close, allow me to correct an error in one of my recent articles on the State of the Parish Address regarding contribution details, as follows: We have 4349 Registered Households out of which, only 1,536 (35%), contribute monthly. See the annual details of their contributions below:
|Donation/Year||Total # of Families||% Total Contributors|
|$1 - $250||820||53%|
|$251 - $500||263||18%|
|$501 - $2000||386||26%|
|$2001 - $5000||59||4%|
|%5001 - $10,000||4||1%|
Please, accept my sincere apologies for this error.
- Fr. RobertBACK TO LIST