I am meeting with first-time kindergarten parents this month. If my memory serves me right, I have held these meetings the past nine years that I have worked here at the parish. That would also mean that my first-year kindergarten parents will have their first-time high school students in the fall. I do not think my message has changed that much in those nine years. I hope the stewardship message and this way of life we practice as good stewards does not change much in the decades to come.
This way of life we practice is about making a grateful response as a follower of Jesus. It is giving of our first fruits - the best of ourselves - back to God through our time, talent and treasure.
The same is asked of each of us. We are called to recognize the gifts we have received and share those gifts for love of God and neighbor. We are called to make a sacrificial, proportional gift in recognition that what we have is a gift from God. We are merely stewards of these gifts we have received. It reminds me of my favorite verse from Psalm 116. "How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?"
The resources are here to help us understand the concepts of being a good steward. I am still challenged in my daily life to live out this way of life I have been called to during my years here at St. Francis. My pride and my selfishness often get in the way of truly surrendering to God's will for my life.
The practice of being a good steward - loving God and my neighbor as myself - is a lifelong challenge. That is why we say we are "practicing" stewardship as a way of life. None of us have made it yet in this life, but we continue to practice and hopefully get better at this way of life. As I like to tell our new school parents, if we find a better way to help people grow closer to Jesus, we will promote that model. But for the past 50 years, the stewardship way of life has been the best model we have found to help us grow closer to Jesus.
In conclusion, I hope these new kindergarten parents grow and mature as good, faithful stewards in the coming years. I hope the hundreds of families that I have met with the past nine years continue to grow as good stewards. Our parish needs all of us to be good, active stewards. Our families, our workplace, our city, and our world need us to be good and faithful stewards.
We are a grateful people and with a generous spirit we respond to our Lord for all the gifts we have received. May the Lord continue to bless this way of life here at St. Francis for many years to come. St Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Pat Burns, Director of Stewardship & Finance