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OUR LIVES ARE A GIFT FROM GOD. HOW WE LIVE IT IS OUR GIFT TO HIM.
What is Stewardship of Time and Talent?
It is the wise and responsible use of the special gifts God has entrusted to each of us. It is believing that God has created each one of us with unique abilities and attributes -- including our personalities, interests, motivations, life experiences, talents and skills, hopes and dreams -- which make us who we are. We are one of a kind creations of God with unique contributions to make in this world.
Why Is This Important?
Our lives have real meaning only when we use our gifts in accordance with God's will. As we grow in stewardship, we grow in our relationship with God. We grow in our ability to hear and accept God's call and to let our life be guided by God's will, not our own desires and impulses.
How Can I Be a Good Steward of My Time and Talents?
In short, put God at the center of your life. We are provided with many opportunities each day to be good stewards. We just need to be aware of the choices we make and the significance of our decisions.
Time...don't let it slip away!
No gift is greater than time, and yet, nothing is so easy to waste. Contrary to our cultural norms, good stewardship of time doesn't mean being busy all the time. Time spent in prayer, nurturing relationships with our family and friends or just enjoying the beauty of the world around us is time well spent. In fact, taking "time out" to nourish ourselves spiritually can be the best thing we can do to deepen our relationship with God.
Questions to Ponder
Take some time to reflect on these questions and perhaps take them to prayer, asking for God's guidance, with gratitude for this marvelous gift.
- How do I "kill time"?
- When have I most appreciated time?
- What do I think God wants me to do with my time?
- What obstacles keep me from being a good steward of my time?
We are often held back from recognizing or sharing our gifts because of a narrow definition of "talent." We think "talented people" are extraordinary achievers or have easily identifiable gifts, such as musical ability or artistic talent. We must remember that each one of us was created by God and was given the ability to serve God and each other in some way.
Talents include being a good listener, being able to organize people, relating well to children or teens, being patient with others and numerous other less-recognized gifts. Our gifts often change during our lives: in our youth our gift may be energy; when we're older, it is knowledge. We are each one-of-a-kind creations of God with unique contributions to make in this world.
As Christians we recognize that our gifts of talents and skills are meant to be cultivated and shared with others, beginning with our family and friends, with our parish community and with the world. Sharing the gift of ourselves is how we express our gratitude for being created as a unique and gifted people.
How can I be a good steward of my talents?
Begin by recognizing and acknowledging the talents you have been given. A first step in this process is gift discernment. As defined in Grounded in God, "Discernment involves opening our entire selves to the working of the Holy Spirit. It bids us to let go of preconceived ideas so that we can be open to new possibilities with a readiness to view things from new perspectives. . . . it beckons us to be still and listen with the ear of the heart. It draws us into alignment with God." When we regularly pray about our gifts and how God is calling us to use them, we are more likely to be fulfilled in our lives.
Practical ways to share your talents.
- Be available to your family and friends. Be open to the needs of those around you and be willing to provide assistance.
- Be an active member of the parish. Your parish is enriched and strengthened by the participation of its members.
- Get involved in your community. You touch and are touched by many people and groups who could benefit by your gifts -- school, homeless shelter, nursing home, hospital, community center and others.
- Advocate for the things you believe in. Your voice can make a difference in your community, the nation and the world.
An Invitation to Action
The following actions are offered only as examples of some of the ways to be a good steward. We hope that these reflections have helped you to be more aware of your gifts and open to God's call for you. Now, we encourage you to make a conscious decision and personal commitment to use your time and talents over the next year to serve God and one another.
As personal commitment to be a good steward of my time and talents, I will:
- Do something for my relationship with God
- Pray/Meditate to God's mission for me
- Join a small group, EFM, or DOCC
- Ask for forgiveness or forgive someone
- Do the best I can in everything I do
- Share myself with those around me
- Visit a sick friend
- Spend time with family and friends
- Pray for those in need
- Offer assistance to a friend or neighbor
- Get involved with my parish family
- Regularly worship at your own church and participate fully in the liturgies
- Get to know the people in the parish
- Seek out ways that I can share my gifts
- Responding to requests from your parish
- Get involved in the community
- Volunteer at my children's or local school
- Visit the elderly or shut-ins in my area
- Join a neighborhood group
- Volunteer with a social service group
Reflection by Leo Rock, S.J, Killing Time
How do I kill time? Let me count the ways.
By worrying about things over which I have no control.
Like the past. Like the future.
By harboring resentment and anger over hurts real or imagined.
By disdaining the ordinary, or rather,
what I so mindlessly call ordinary.
By concern over what's in it for me.
rather than what's in me for it.
By failing to appreciate what is
because of might-have-beens,
These are some of the ways I kill time.
Jesus didn't kill time.
He gave life to it. His own.