The End of Stewardship

Yes, the end.  It’s over, and I am out of a job.

Well, not today ….

I’m a fan of Crisis Magazine.  There are so many thought provoking, tell-it-like-it-is articles that it keeps me thinking, questioning, wondering.  The quality of the writing is outstanding, and it never feels like I am wasting time when I read it.

I recently read an article by John Schroeter where he asks the question “What if just ten percent of Christians actually lived the way Jesus calls us to live? What would that world look like? Can we even imagine it?” 

He ruminates about this question while invoking some high-powered theologians and authors.  It’s not some navel-gazing exercise, but a real brain buster.  Just ten percent. 

First things first, my intent here is not to get all sanctimonious and start in with “Well, I live the way Jesus calls.  All of you should get on board here.”  Rather, I try to live as Jesus calls us, but my humanity continues to get in the way.  Thank God for the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Reading this commentary made me think about something I have been sharing the last couple of years. 

Stewardship is so often described as us sharing our time, our talent, and our treasure.  Ask someone what stewardship means, and it is likely that is the phrase they will use. That term is used so much that it can easily become meaningless.    Ask that same person to define the three Ts and I would bet dollars-to- doughnuts that he will scratch his head when it comes to differentiating the “time” and “talent” components.

You too?

Try substituting “time” with “prayer.”  It doesn’t make for nice alliteration, but it more accurately describes what we are talking about. 

Now let’s try our own “what if” question.  What if, in our quest to become Christian stewards, that we spent an extra 15 minutes a day in prayer?

This is a challenge I have been throwing out to individuals and groups whenever I get the chance.  It’s interesting to see the reactions – head’s nodding in agreement, faces scrunching up in a visible sign of thought, people sliding forward in their chairs as if saying “tell me more.”  

Imagine, then, the Church in the US answering this challenge.  What would become of us all?

That would be the end of stewardship as we know it.  I believe that 70 million Catholics praying 15 minutes more each day would eliminate the need for diocesan and parish stewardship directors, because we would be consecrating everything – our time, our talent, and our treasure – to the Lord. It would no longer be anything different than what we do every moment of every day, like breathing.

We wouldn’t call it stewardship anymore.  We would call it living. 

Ten percent of us living as Jesus called.  Fifteen more minutes of prayer each day. 

Stewardship directors, like the guy in this video, would be done.   Time to rest. Can we imagine that?

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