How were you first introduced to stewardship as a way of life? When did this spirituality first begin to shape the way you live, the decisions you make, and the way in which your faith directs your daily life? I have been thinking about this quite often of late, as I have reflected on the potential each of us has to touch others with the stewardship message.
Many years ago now, a friend who worked in publishing and I were talking about parish life. I was fumbling around, trying to explain the impact that stewardship was having on our parishioners and on the parish. My friend suddenly stopped me and said, “Well of course this is happening! Stewardship can really change our lives, can it not?” His comment broke through my stumbling thoughts, as his remark echoed the U.S. bishops’ insight in Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response. At the very beginning of the bishops’ pastoral letter they write: “Stewardship is an expression of discipleship that has the power to change how we understand and live out our lives.”
What stunned me about my friend’s comment was how passionately he expressed his understanding and how clearly he saw this.
I realized that my experience of him as a giving and generous person was a result of his growth as a steward. His witness in the course of an every-day conversation between friends has remained with me for over ten years, and has urged me on in times when my own “disciple’s response” has seemed weak or lagging.
It seems to me that if we are to lead others along the stewardship journey, we must ourselves live, grow and allow ourselves to be transformed by the power of stewardship. We must be prepared to witness to the ways in which stewardship has changed how we “understand and live out our lives.” We may never know the impact our personal sharing or ministerial co¬ordination will have on others, but I can tell you from my own experience of being touched by my friend that the potential is there for us to truly make a difference.
What is your story? With whom might you share it during this Lenten season?
This article was written by Leisa Anslinger, author and co-founder of Catholic Strengths and Engagement Community (CSEC) and originally published in the ICSC March 2016 newsletter.
A story only become a story when it is told. Before that it is just a though or a diary. It is in the telling that another life can be impacted.
What I have found is that I rarely learn something new from a person’s story. (How much “new” is there at my age?) But what I do learn is to see a situation from a different perspective. Or I’m inspired by someone’s bravery, dedication, faith. Or I’m encouraged on my own journey by way of another’s example.
I have found that I get the most comments on Barbie’s Corner when I tell a story. Trust me, I don’t think I’m all that wise. But I do realize that it is the telling of one’s personal story that is most impactful. Don’t be afraid to share your story, particularly your faith journey. You never know who needs to hear it.