“Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these varied graces of God, put it at the service of others” (1 Pt 4.10).
Christ the Teacher Catholic Schools in Melville, Theodore and Yorkton are continuing their long-range focus on stewardship as a way of life. Having completed a three-year focus on the pillars of stewardship — gratitude, generosity, and trust — as outlined by Rev. Darrin Gurr, we are now focusing on one of the 10 virtues of stewardship as outlined by Dan Potvin. Potvin’s 10 virtues include the three pillars and so it seemed natural to continue the stewardship plan with another of the stewardship virtues. The virtue of responsibility was chosen as the faith focus for the 2014 — 2015 school year.
The Parable of the Talents from the Gospel of Matthew served as the starting point for both staff and students to focus on responsibility as a virtue of stewardship. This parable is a good picture of what God has done in us. God has given each of us tools to use in building the kingdom . . . gifts and talents to use to make a positive difference in the world. We have all been given the gifts and talents we need to respond to God’s call — “response ability” or “respondsibility” for a play on words.
The gifts, talents and abilities given to us by God are as unique to us as our fingerprints are. We are called to be responsible in using and sharing them boldly, courageously, creatively and selflessly in the service of God. The world needs people who will be faithful and respond to that calling. Each of us needs to trust that God has blessed us with the gifts we need to do the special work God has planned for us, and we must use and share those gifts.
We can’t sit on our talents and hide them, be fearful of putting our abilities to work, or hoard our material possessions. We can’t waste time being jealous or envious of the gifts others have been given. Instead, we need to be grateful for the gifts we do have and we need to use and share them generously and responsibly to continue God’s work of building God’s kingdom here on earth.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel is quoted as having said, “You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you . . . go work with it.” We are not to hide the gifts God has given us from the world. Rather, we are to accept them with gratitude, and offer them back to God with increase by sharing them generously with others. Our schools are always involved in a number of projects where the staff and students do exactly that.
Recently many of our schools participated in the Farm Credit Canada Drive Away Hunger Campaign. Seven schools collected just over 5,000 lbs. of food, which stays in our communities to feed the hungry of our area. Currently our schools are involved in a variety of Advent projects to collect necessary goods and funds which will be distributed to various charities and service organizations to assist them with their Christmas campaigns for those in need. Sharing with those in need has been and always will be an important practice in our Catholic schools. We are simply working to increase awareness that not only is it the right thing to do, but that it is our responsibility as disciples of Christ.
“Stewardship offers wonderful opportunities for evangelization as we listen to the voice of the Spirit speaking of gratitude, generosity, responsibility and increase. Stewardship can be understood as a spirituality for life which allows one to embrace a radical vision for what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, the ultimate steward. Stewardship is a way of putting the Gospel into action by acknowledging that all we have are gifts from God” (Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby, DD, Archdiocese of Brisbane).
We are called to follow in the way of Jesus, who not only taught about being good stewards of God’s gifts — as we hear in the Parable of the Talents — but who demonstrated this attitude through his commitment to the will of his heavenly Father. The more we can reflect on the life of Jesus, as the ultimate steward, the greater our capacity to follow his example of living life gratefully, generously and responsibly.
All year and beyond, we will focus on putting our talents and abilities into action so that we may responsibly care for and share all the gifts that God has given us in order to make a positive difference in the world! The following prayer guides us in this endeavour:
Gracious God, you alone created this world and everything in it that is good.
All that we have and all that we are, including the unique ability we each have to help those around us, come from you.
You allowed us our freedom, and entrusted us with great responsibility.
We ask that you bless us as we strive to transform our world through love, word, and deed. We pray that we may be good stewards: that we will pray unceasingly, give thanks constantly, share generously, follow faithfully, live responsibly and serve joyfully.
May we be responsible in how we receive, use and share all the gifts you entrust to us so that we may make a positive difference in our world. Send the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and lives, guide our service, and grant us a spirit of purpose and joy.
We ask for the courage to be responsible stewards in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pellatt is the Religious Education Consultant for Christ The Teacher Catholic Schools in Yorkton, Sask.