All Is Gift
Stewardship begins with a recognition that all that we have and all that we are are is a gift from God. This seemingly simple realization has implications that are radical, counter-cultural, and far-reaching.
God As Source of All
Everything that we have and everything we are is a gift from God. It is a challenge to internalize this in a culture so taken to individual achievement and rewards. This insight calls us to direct our gratitude and complete trust in God as our provider.
Humility And Trust
Acknowledging God as the source requires having the humility to realize we are not the source. This takes practice, as our ego naturally gives ourselves credit for all we earn and achieve. But our talents, abilities, education, and everything else that put us in that situation ultimately came from God. And we continue to be dependent on God for everything we have each day, beginning with our very lives.
All Means Everything
God's gifts to us are wide-ranging and inclusive: not only our time, talent, and treasure, but our whole experience. Bishop Robert Morneau offers the image of gardens in our lives that we are called to tend, from the garden of our emotions to the garden of our family and friends.
We are called to receive God's gifts gratefully, and that gratitude involves appreciating those gifts and saying "thank you" to God. How often to we remember to take this step, for all the gifts in our lives that we take for granted?
We Are Unworthy
God's love is gratuitous. It comes before we have any possibility of deserving or earning it. God gives freely not because we are worthy (we aren't) or have earned the gift as a reward, but because God loves us. We can find this grace in God's forgiveness, the many gifts in our lives, and our lives themselves.
Gifts Do Not Belong To Us
While the gifts we receive from God may be in our care for a time, they still belong to God and we are merely caretakers. Our language betrays our possessiveness: "my house," "my car," "my money," "my possessions." How might we act differently if we thought of our house, car, money, and possessions as being "God's"?
Gifts With a Purpose
Everything God has given us has a purpose, and these gifts come with responsibilities: to nurture the gifts responsibly, share them justly and charitably, and return them to God abundantly. The gifts are all entrusted to us ultimately for the service of others.
Gratitude Is Healthy
Scientific research is increasingly showing how practices of gratitude are good for our physical and mental health (as well as those around us).
Gratitude is the cornerstone of
Bishop Robert Morneau
Theology of Stewardship
Stewardship... is a spiritual attitude that begins with the understanding that all we are and all we own are gifts, freely given by our loving God. And when that fact– that everything is unmerited gift– seeps deeply into consciousness, there are at least two outcomes:
Stewardship By The Book
A sense of gratitude is a primary source of joyful generosity.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Do not be deceived... all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father...
We are all gifts of God’s hospitality. The world in which we live is pure gift.
I used to hold out my palms and wait. God always came– as long as I remained a child. He never deceived me– He always came, a child just like myself, and deposited his toys in my hands: Sun, Moon, and Wind. ‘They're gifts,’ He said, ‘They’re gifts. Play with them. I have lots more.’ I would open my eyes, God would vanish, but his toys would remain in my hands.
God wants [Christians] to cherish and serve a broad range of interests and concerns: life and health, along with their own intellectual and spiritual well-being and that of others;
Stewardship: A Disciple's Response
Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you. I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.
Everything, indeed, is gift: our existence, our human nature, family, friends, all the people around us, nature with its beauty, endless variety, vastness and mystery, the Son, Moon, and Wind. There is a statement in an African catechism that says that God created the universe and the world because He thought we would enjoy it. We do, or we need to do so precisely as gift.
Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan
Organizations & Websites
The Expanding Gratitude Project
Greater Good Science Center
A project through the University of California to expand the science and practice of gratitude, through research and public education initiatives. It includes extensive articles and tools, such as a curriculum for teaching children about gratitude.
A service of the Greater Good Science Center
A sharable gratitude journal. Take the 14-day gratitude challenge, learn more about yourself, and add to the growing body of research on the benefits of saying thanks!
Our international nonprofit organization provides resources for living in the gentle power of gratefulness, which restores courage, reconciles relationships, and heals our Earth.
The community for spreading gratitude and appreciation. Open to shiny, happy people, businesses, and organizations the world over.
365 Grateful is a film about uncovering what happens when ordinary people unlock the remarkable powers of gratitude. This documentary was born out of a project created by Hailey - the '365 Grateful Project'. In early 2008, in an effort to fight depression, Hailey started a year long photographic project which involved taking one Polaroid photo a day of something she felt grateful for. Initially this was a chore but eventually it became a delight.
"Gratitude" on Spirituality & Practice
Creative resources for exploring the topic of gratitude, including films, quotations, books, music, and spiritual practices.
7-page handout presenting the gardens we are called to tend in our lives, as presented by Bishop Morneau. Each section includes discernment questions.
One-page handout reflecting on gift in one person's ordinary day.