Stewardship: Start with Prayer

By now, when most people hear the word ‘stewardship’, three words jump into their minds: Time, Talent and Treasure.  Those are good words to associate with the notion of being good stewards –using those basic gifts God gives us to cooperate with God in the building up of the kingdom.   The danger, however, in associating those words first with stewardship is that we can miss the deepest reality about stewardship – that is it first and foremost a spiritual message.

Stewardship is the way that we are called to live out our faith.  Primarily it is a way of life that allows us to be true disciples of Jesus and to follow more closely the teaching of the Gospel.  True stewardship always starts with prayer.  It always starts, like Mary, with our sitting at the feet of the Master, listening to his words and letting them soak deep into our hearts.  The temptation is to jump in, like Martha, to the response step of serving before we have had the chance to do the proper listening step.  Much will get done with that approach, but it begs the question whether what we are doing is what God wants us to do.

This Stewardship Sunday’s theme echoes this teaching: Stewardship: Start with Prayer.  Archbishop Carlson has one key statement for us to respond to:  “How do we know what God expects of us if we are not in close communication with Him through prayer!”  The purpose of stewardship is not to tell God all the things that we want God to do, but rather to ask God what He wants us to do and then be quiet enough to hear the answer in our hearts.  And THEN to let our prayer lead to action.

So, this coming Stewardship Sunday (which is also Catechetical Sunday), Sept. 19th, I invite you to begin a new, daily kind of prayer.  Just 5 minutes a day each day, first thing in the morning.  Pray this simple phrase and then be quiet.

“Lord, what do You want me to do with all the gifts you have given me TODAY?”

If we pray well into those two notions recommended to us by Archbishop Carlson – spending time in prayer and asking the question –  then I think we’ll be on our way to being the faithful stewards who are praised in the gospels for their love and response to God…