Generosity needs a plan
If you have been around the Catholic Church long enough, you probably have had the opportunity to be at Mass when the topic of stewardship comes up. If you’ve spent any time reading the Gospels, you also know that Jesus often speaks about stewardship of time, property, and money.
What is stewardship? Stewardship is when you recognize that God has given you everything you have, and you have a responsibility to take care of it and to give back to God. This includes the time He gives you, the talents He gives you, and the treasure He gives you.
One example is the time you have each week. Each week, you are given 168 hours. We all receive the same amount. No one receives more and no one receives less. God asks that you give back to Him just one hour at the beginning of the week by attending Mass on Sunday. After that one hour, the remaining 167 hours are for yourself. If you sleep eight hours each night, 56 of those hours will end up as sleeping hours. That still leaves you with 111 hours in a week for everything else. Why not give more of those back to God?
The same idea can be applied to our treasure (money). The Bible encourages us to tithe (or give) 10 percent of our income to the Church. This may seem like a lot to give back to God; but, if we reflect on the reality that all that we have is from God to begin with, then we realize 90 percent is for you to use yourself; God is only asking for 10 percent back. The reality is that we cannot outdo God in generosity.
At times, it is easy to ignore the spiritual realities of stewardship as we struggle against selfishness and greed. How you spend your time, use your talents, and budget your money reveals your true priorities. Only through prayer and true reflection can you know if you are giving back to God in the right proportions.
Father Richard Semple, one of our priests in the Diocese of Spokane, suggests the following steps if you are struggling with increasing how much you give.
1. Make an assessment of all that you have, both material and financial.
2. Realize that it is all in your care. You decide what happens with your money.
3. Realize it is all a gift from God.
4. Give thanks to God for each of your blessings.
5. Make a promise to God that you will be generous with the gifts you have been given.
6. Make a plan and schedule your generosity.
As the Annual Catholic Appeal begins, it is a good time to reflect on how you are giving back to God in the areas of your time, talent, and treasure. The graphics on this page can help you begin the process of evaluating how you give back to God.
To see the full PDFs of the graphics on this page and other stewardship materials, visit www.dioceseofspokane.org/stewardship