What does stewardship look like in your life? Then think of this through the prism of a Vincentian lens which should have a spiritual and biblical foundation.
Then ask yourself what stewardship means to you, to members of the Society, and to your respective Councils and Conferences.
Certainly, as good stewards we need to give thanks for all the gifts we’ve received. This means thanks to God, thanks to our bishops and pastors for allowing us to serve within their dioceses and parishes, thanks to our volunteers and employees, and thanks to every person who has helped us by donating goods and money.
Good stewardship involves, among other things, accepting and acting on the following principles:
- The principle that everything we have is a gift from God who has given us the ability to serve others,
- The principle of responsibility,
- The principle of accountability.
Let’s examine these further:
First, stewardship includes recognition that it is God who created everything and through whose grace and blessing we have been given the ability to serve others and to receive the funds needed to do so effectively. It is God who has given us the graces we need to discern how best to help people.
With this comes the principle of responsibility to use the gifts bestowed on us wisely. This may mean helping other Conferences and upper Councils as well as those who come directly to us. We help those who come to us or who we have sought out and found because they are God’s children. We help other Conferences because we know the people coming to them also need help. We help upper Councils mainly, but not exclusively, through solidarity dues so they can animate and promote our Essential Elements of Spirituality, Friendship and Service. Responsibility also means not hoarding funds but rather honoring donor intent that those in need be helped in whatever way is prudent and will alleviate material, spiritual and emotional need and anxiety, and that the help be delivered by men and women who are well formed in what it means to be a Vincentian.
The principle of accountability also needs to be considered when discussing stewardship. When we as Vincentians become stewards of resources and money given to us, we have an absolute responsibility to give an accounting to all of our stakeholders – we discussed those in September. This includes filing annual reports which have information that is shared with bishops across the country and helps the National Council fulfill its obligation to account to the greater church.
In short, we all have an obligation to be faithful stewards of all God has bestowed upon us and to see that in the end we are serving the common good and furthering God’s Kingdom.