Time and time again we see in Scripture the call to be good stewards of the spiritual and temporal gifts God has given us.
Christian stewardship means more than generously sharing our time, talent, and treasure. It means that we “... receive God's gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.”
Stewardship looks differently for each couple, and husbands and wives should take time to pray about and discuss what it means for their particular family during this season of their life. Here are some ideas to get the conversation started:
When couples create a budget, they generally form it around a particular goal they want to achieve or a vision they have for their lives. For example, paying off student loans, buying a house, or saving for college.
Creating a budget in this way makes sense, and will help your family use money prudently and intentionally, but consider inviting God into the process.
Instead of simply asking the question “What do we want to do with our money?” ask God what He wants you to do with it.
His plan might look a bit different than your plan in the beginning and it will probably require you being more intentional with your finances, so you can make room for the more important things.
The idea of tithing goes back to Old Testament days, but it remains an important responsibility of members of the Church today. The Catechism states: “The faithful have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.”
Traditionally this meant giving 10% of your income, but the Catholic Church does not mandate a specific percentage. However, the spirit of the tithe has remained over the years. We should return the first-fruits of our labor to the one who ultimately gave them to us.
You can choose to tithe to your local parish, and/or to another Catholic charity. Pray and discuss with your spouse how much you can tithe each month, and where you feel called to donate.
Give from your need
Remember the widow in the gospel of Mark who gave two small coins into the temple treasury? Of her, Jesus said: “This poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
Of course we should be prudent with our finances, but too often we use our lack of money or resources as an excuse not to give.
But true generosity requires sacrifice. It’s easy to be generous with our excess but it takes virtue to give from the little we have. This might look like forgoing our daily cup of coffee from the nearby shop, or inviting people to your home to share the meal you prepared.
We practice stewardship when we take what we have been given and joyfully share it with others.
Stewardship means recognizing that all of the gifts in your life come from God, and involves giving from that gratitude instead of from obligation.
Take some time each day with your spouse to think about the gifts in your life and thank God for them.
Recognizing the generosity of God in turn helps you to show generosity to the people you encounter each day. It also helps you find satisfaction with what you have so you can live a more intentional life.