Putting complete trust in God is one of the characteristics of living a stewardship lifestyle. It means being generous with all of our gifts; not just one or two things we pick and choose.
If we're honest with ourselves, when it comes to sharing, many pick the path of least resistance, the path that causes the least discomfort. We tend to share from our surplus.
Many of us know people who go to daily Mass and regularly attend parish religious events, yet they don't participate in parish ministries or make a weekly financial offering at Mass.
Many of us know people who are involved in many of the parish ministries, yet they don't attend Sunday Mass regularly or support the parish financially.
Many of us also know people who say their time is too important or they are so busy that they can't attend Mass regularly (or at all) and can't take part in one of the parish ministries, but they are able to write the parish a check if it means they don't have to commit their time.
In all these situations, these people may consider themselves to be good stewards of their gifts. But, this isn't how God calls us to share our gifts. God asks us to be generous with everything, especially that one "thing" that means the most to us. Maybe it's time, maybe it's talent or maybe it's money. Yes, money is often the one thing that we struggle with being generous.
You see, by sharing all of our gifts, we keep God first in everything. It keeps us from putting other "gods" before God. It keeps us from becoming a slave to that particular gift; like our time, our skills, or our possessions and money that we think is so valuable.
This is very important and it's not just a suggestion; it's a commandment. It's actually the first commandment — "I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me."
The point of stewardship is to help each other get to heaven — and it all starts with putting our complete trust in God in all things.
As is stated in the Gospel of Matthew, "So do not worry and say 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides."
Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.