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Stewardship 303 Unwrapping the Gift

Take moment and pull out your check book and your calendar. This exercise will help you determine if you are growing spirituality and personally. Do not tally up how many masses you have been to this year or how much you have given to your church or other noble organizations. What you should look for is checks you have written to universities, conferences, book stores and the like. Now look at your calendar, find all the times you penciled in for educational and growth opportunities. This can include Bible study or other prayer groups, work shops such as Called and Gifted, conferences such as the Midwest Catholic Family Conference, adoration, a retreat, or even Marriage Encounter. Some of these cost money some do not, but the point is, they all take time. They are all deliberate choices made to gain something. Think of the more spiritual persons you know. What are they doing to get the level of success they have? They work at it! Any successful business, job or marriage becomes that way by working at it.

Learning, growing, changing, getting better, looking for ways to improve. Whether it is spiritual books you choose to read or a noon bible study the purpose is to grow. Through those activities you become open to God. Open to all His goodness. First and foremost, opening the gifts God has given you begins at His table. The Eucharist should be the first step you take on the journey. If you are already attending mass regularly or will begin attending regularly, it is time to look outside the walls of the physical building. What else is out there that can help you grow into Christ? The resources available are numerous. Many parishes have libraries with a variety of books, videos, and activities designed to bring you closer to Christ. Not to mention all the resources on the internet. If a program is not available, start it. Your pastor and office staff would be delighted to have a new program that has a built in minister. Surround yourself with people on the same journey. My family and I have a wonderful group of people who are our support system outside of mass. We are free to speak of Christ’s goodness and we encourage each other to do so. Those intimate gatherings allow each one of us to see we all have similar experiences, needs, wants, and desires as we grow closer to God. These people have revealed to us some of the gifts we did not know we have. A value cannot be place on relationships like that. Below are six questions to ask when discerning your talents and unwrapping your gifts.

  1. What is my occupation, vocation, or profession?
  2. What additional skills, talents, or interests do I have?
  3. What are my hobbies? What do I like to do in my spare time?
  4. What skills or talents do I have because of my hobbies?
  5. What kids of skills, talents, or abilities do my friends and family members tell me I have?
  6. What are some specific needs in my community that I know I could help meet?

(Stewardship A Parish Handbook, C. Justin Clemens, 7-8)

 

I cannot reinforce enough that our Christianity is a process. Our gifts may not be discovered immediately, give it time. Begin where you are at. Begin with interests and abilities you already have. Use them for the Glory of God and give Him thanks for His gift.

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