What are the rewards and results of sharing our gifts of time, talent and treasure for others?
Doing so brings satisfaction, peace and joy to the giver’s heart; builds up our family, community, Church and world; means we are following Jesus’ words and example; fulfills the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the exhortations of the Holy Father and deepens our relationship with God and improves our connections with God’s creations on earth; and helps alleviate those difficulties caused by the shortage of clergy and the lack of funds that the Church faces in the United States today. This particular question concludes a book by Rev. Joseph M. Champlin, called Sharing Gifts: A Spirituality of Time, Talent and Treasure. Father Champlin identifies courage and trust as the two fundamental virtues required in the hearts of people who accept and follow the principles of sacrificial giving. However, he challenges that our time, rather than our treasure, is our most precious commodity. To surrender a portion of our few available hours to help in our Church and our community takes planning and “courageous generosity” of self and spirit. Most of us are slaves to our calendars, carefully planning our meetings, weekends, dinners, kids’ activities, etc., etc.
Some of our volunteer work might be dictated by our children’s schools or even our employers, but the time we give in stewardship to our Church and/or community should be dictated by our hearts. We should share our time, using the best that God gave us; our talents. When we use our talents and strengths in our volunteer work, we will enjoy it and others will see the “courageous generosity” in our gift of time.
Fr. Champlin also challenges us to trust. When we enter a life of stewardship, we take a leap of faith. We trust that in our giving, we will still be able to meet our needs and many of our wants as well. We trust that God is never outdone in His generosity. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God … and all these things will be given you besides.” Matt 6:31-33
What do I want my church to be?
The following reflection is from the Diocese of San Diego. It is truly “food for thought.”
My church is composed of people like me.
I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am.
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will do great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.
It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a noble spirit, if I who make it what it is, am filled with these same things.
Therefore, with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things that I want my church to be.