The story is told of an older woman who passed out during Mass. Immediately, she was attended to by a physician who was in attendance. The physician suggested she be taken to the hospital for tests. As they strapped Mary into the stretcher, she motioned to her daughter to come near. Quietly, she whispered into her daughter’s ear, “My offering is in my purse.” With these words, Mary demonstrated what was of highest importance to her – being a good and faithful steward of the gifts God had given her.
Stewardship means properly managing the resources God has given us to accomplish his work. Most people, when thinking about stewardship, primarily think about money. However, giving money to support the work of God is merely part of stewardship, even though one cannot be a faithful steward without giving money, even if the amount given is comparable to the widow’s mite.
If stewardship is not about money, it may be about participating in various ministries of the Church – using the time and talents God has given us for the furtherance of his kingdom. However, what one does in ministry is not stewardship either. It is part of good stewardship and one cannot be a faithful steward without participation in ministry.
If stewardship is not about what I can give and what I can do, what is it? Stewardship is about having a heart that is warm to God. It is about the attitude that stands behind our giving and our service. It is about truly being his disciple – offering our whole life to him. Thus, it is not about what we give or what we do for God, it is about why we do it. If we give money or offer our time and talents with the wrong attitude, we are not being faithful stewards.
John Kaloudis is the director of the Diocesan Development Drive and the Office of Stewardship for the Diocese of Salt Lake City.