Surrender all aspects of life to stewardship

I want to reiterate that stewardship is at the very heart of our call to discipleship. Discipleship is not
about volunteering, and stewardship is not about money, but surrendering all aspects of our lives to the
Lord. Stewardship has the power to shape and mold our understanding of who we are as disciples.
Christian stewards recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, and the source of all things.
Jesus’ disciples are grateful for the gifts they have received and are eager to use them to show their love
for God and for one another. Discipleship and stewardship are linked realities that create the fabric of
Catholic life whereby each day is lived intentionally in an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord.

If stewardship does not leave giving to chance, then it challenges us to plan. It asks us to deliberately
appraise what we are doing with our time, our talent, and our treasure. Deliberately appraising what we
are doing with our talents begins with a few questions.

What are your greatest talents? How are they being given back to God with gratitude so that his
kingdom can be furthered here on earth? What are your underdeveloped talents that you are afraid to
share — those talents which you consider to be insignificant or not yet polished?

No matter what our talents — big or small, perfected or unperfected — they all belong to God. He will
use them all, further perfecting them all to build you up and to build up his kingdom at the same time.
All of our gifts and talents have been given to us for a purpose, not for our own sake, but for the sake of

So many Catholics hold back and stay on the sidelines as observers in the game of life we call the
kingdom of God. But what does holding back our gifts and talents do for us?

Why do pastors have to keep asking people to come forward for the ministry to which God is inviting
them? Let us forego the notion of volunteerism, looking at all of us as part of a team with a common
mission, the mission of Jesus Christ. It will not only change our lives, but the lives of those to whom we
minister. If we desire greater fulfillment in life, more joy, more satisfaction and meaning, it comes
through sharing and giving ourselves away because, as St. Francis shared, “it is in giving that we

The Lord sees our talents and gifts from a wider view than we see them in ourselves. They have been
given to us for some specific purpose in the mind of God to be used for what he has reserved for each of
us individually to fulfill our mission in life. If we do not know what that might be, then perhaps we
should find ways in which to share our talents until we discover that specific purpose. The Lord will
continue to develop our talents along the way, even those lesser ones we seem to think that we do not
have. This has been my experience over the past nineteen years of priesthood.

Putting everything back into the hands of God can be risky business. God will stretch us, will take us
out of our comfort zones, will lead us through ongoing conversion, but in the process will bless us 100
fold, manifesting his deep love for us through the process. How can we say “No” to this? Discipleship
and stewardship develop the whole person — our gifts and talents are increased along the way. The Lord
makes a return to us in proportion to our return to him, not just in this life, but in the life to come, which
is really what is most important.

Recall in the Gospel where Zacchaeus had an encounter with Jesus that changed everything for him.
Zacchaeus, a tax collector, stole from others to make himself wealthy. In this encounter, perhaps the first
time in his life where he felt love accepting him, Jesus healed the darkest corners of his heart. No
amount of money nor all the things money could buy could take the place of the freedom of heart which
Zacchaeus experienced through this encounter. He was now free to give it all away. “Behold, half of my
possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I shall repay it
four times over” (Luke 19:8). Real conversion took place for Zacchaeus. He could now live his life for

The tithing of our talents, as mentioned earlier, is planned giving, deliberately appraising what we are
doing with them for the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. This begins by tithing our time in prayer,
that daily encounter with the Lord Jesus, seeking his desires for our lives, and then stepping off the
sidelines into the playing field with great trust and confidence.

When we come to the Eucharist, we see it as the greatest sign and instrument of charity whereby we
participate in the stewardship of Jesus himself. Christ has given us all that he has and is, in totality. Our
participation in his act of charity, in his act of stewardship, implies that we bring all that we are and
have, uniting ourselves and these tremendous gifts and talents to His saving sacrifice. Then, having
received from Christ’s own stewardship, “if this celebration is to be sincere and thorough, it will lead to
various works of charity and mutual help, as well as to missionary activity and to different forms of
Christian witness” (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)