Stewardship Prayer

God our Father, You are the source of life and every blessing.  All that we have comes from You.  Help us to walk in your ways as faithful disciples of Jesus.  As good stewards of your many blessings teach us to receive your gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them in justice and love with others, and return them with increase to You, our Father.

We ask this though Christ our Lord, who came that we might have life, and have it abundantly.

Amen.

Understanding Stewardship

One dimension of our relationship with Jesus Christ is coming to an awareness that all we are and all we have is from the Lord. We are called upon to be good stewards of the gifts which God has entrusted to our care. Stewardship is becoming partners in God’s work on earth.

“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:14)

We are accountable for the proper management of our faith and spiritual gifts, our time and the activities we pursue, our body and its mental and physical health, our talents and the vocation to which we have been called, our finances and all the possessions we have accumulated, our relationships with family, friends and community.

The challenge of caring for the Body of Christ, the Church, belongs to each one of us! Members of  St. Bernard and St. Ignatius  are the “stewards” of our parish, our faith community. Christian stewards gratefully receive God’s gifts, cherish them justly and lovingly with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.

Corporately, St. Bernard and St. Ignatius are  in Stewardship with the Lord - giving sacrificially to the larger community.

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)

Stewardship of our Time

Perhaps the most important aspect of Stewardship, especially in today’s world, is the proper management of the gift of time. Time is more fleeting than any talent and more precious than any treasure. Yet, we take little care to balance our hours, days, and weeks. Calendars seem to fill without us even being aware of whether we are making the best use of our time.

God has gifted us with an amount of time which only He knows. He requires of us that we return a portion of that time, prime time, directly to Him and then manage well the remainder to His glory.

Prayerful reflection will confirm that we are either “spending’ our time as the Lord intends, or that there is a real need for change. How do we allocate to God for prayer and study of His Word? Do we give our family and friends quality time in ample quantity? Do we take an appropriate amount of time for rest and fun? Is the Body of Christ, most specifically our own parish family, being cared for with a sacrificial portion of our time?

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Membership in St. Bernard and St. Ignatius requires that we commit to sharing our time with its community in worship, fellowship, and ministry. When we accept the challenge of putting God first, our attitudes, priorities, and spiritual lives will definitely change. God never measures our gift by the amount. He measures it by the cost.

“Let them trust in God who provides us richly with all things for our use.” (1 Timothy 6:17)

Stewardship of our Talent

Generous sharing of resources is central to the practice of Stewardship. Of those resources, our unique talents bring a special flavor to the community when we step forward and share our abilities justly and lovingly with others. We are fulfilling the mission of the Church when we use those personal gifts we are given as a child of God.

Stewardship of talent often involves discovery and growth. When we selflessly invest ourselves in the parish, our neighborhood or the larger community based on its needs rather than our own, we will come to realize that God truly does equip those who serve Him. You will be surprised and delighted with the personal insights you discover when you give yourself to others.

Many will argue that they haven’t the right talent or education or personality to make a difference. God knows our abilities. He gave them to us. When we put ourselves at His disposal, He leads us where we can best share of ourselves and then gives us the grace to do the work He has for us to do. Giving back to God a portion of what He has given to us is an act of worship.

“...the Lord Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”(Acts 20:35)

Each of our parish ministries has opportunities for you to discover and use your particular gifts. Prayerfully consider what part you might play in your parish family. There are always needs and those needs are the call to action.

“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:12)

Stewardship of our Treasure

Financial commitment is another component of the Stewardship picture.  St. Bernard and St. Ignatius Parishes addresses the spiritual needs of its members with a wide variety of programs and ministries requiring a devoted, gifted staff. In a very practical sense, our parish facilities require constant care.

The four principles of Sacrificial Giving followed at St. Bernard and St. Ignatius include:

The gift should be planned as part of the family budgeting process.

The gift should be proportionate to the blessings received from God.

The gift should be a sacrifice that may require a change of lifestyle.

The gift should be a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for laying down His Life so that we may have eternal life.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded...” (Luke 12:48.)