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STEWARDSHIP | Sharing the gift of faith

When we talk about stewardship, what often comes to mind are the gifts of time, talent and treasure. But, the gift that God wants most from us is our heart. He wants all of us, not just a piece when it fits into our schedule or small increments throughout the week. He wants us out of love, not obligation.

Living as a disciple of Jesus, living a grateful and generous lifestyle, hopefully, is something we do all the time, not just at Mass or one of our parish events. It’s also when we are out in the world so that others see God’s love and mercy working in our lives, which will draw others to a deeper relationship with God.

Sharing our faith and telling others about God’s joy and peace is something we’re called to do always, not just when our pastor asks us to talk at Mass. It should be part of our everyday, normal life.

Whether introverted or extroverted by nature, we all have relationships with people and need to share our faith.

Here are some tips that may be helpful in sharing your faith:

Pray — Talk and listen to how God is calling you to use your gifts, every day, in good times and bad. Pray for the strength and courage to share your witness.

Discern what your gifts are — When you align your thoughts and actions with God’s plan, the result is supernatural joy. Find the “right” ministry that God calls you to. Your God-infused joy will be attractive to others and will be a living witness of your faith.

Tell your story — Even if you can’t quote Scripture or don’t have the Catechism memorized, you have a wonderful, beautiful story to share. No one knows your relationship with God better than you do and that should give you strength. St. Augustine said “the truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” The truth, this is power behind your story.

Start with the people closest to you — You don’t have to knock on a stranger’s door to share your faith. Start with people within your circle of influence. Start with fallen-away Catholics from your own parish, or, better yet, start with your own family and friends.

Personally invite people to participate — Any good salesman will tell you that you have to ask for the sale, you have to “close the deal.” After sharing your story, invite the person to attend Mass or parish ministry/event with you. Don’t assume people don’t want to participate. Many are just waiting to be invited.

Learn the Catholic faith — As you grow in faith, your desire to learn more grows as well. Join a Bible study or small faith-sharing group. Read about the lives of saints, they are great examples to follow. Learn from someone who knows more than you do.

Many people are looking for an opportunity to talk about God and starting a relationship with Him. Sharing you faith story just may be the “lifeline” they are looking for.

Remember what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”

Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at Mary, Mother of the Church in south St. Louis County.

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