My Personal Journey of Stewardship

 

“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?”  (Psalm 116:12). This past Sunday we listened to a most engaging testimony by Alexis Salvador on her stewardship journey. Alexis’ journey reminded me of my own journey too, especially how my own mom influenced my stewardship journey that I want to share with you this Sunday as we go through our fourth Stewardship Commitment Sunday.

My family had more property than any family in the village. When my dad died, my mom gave one part of the adjacent property to the Catholic Church and the other part to the Protestant church. She saw that both churches needed the land and she simply gave. For me this was the first lesson of stewardship from my mom. She told us that God had given our family so much and she wanted to share with the village what God had given us.

As I grew up, every Sunday mom would remain at the church the whole afternoon for various meetings. She was the treasurer of the church and attended many meetings. The first time I heard the word “tithing” was from mom. She would never miss giving the first fruits after the harvest to the church as part of her tithing. Mom would always give us coins for the Sunday offertory collection.

During my seminary years, stewardship never featured in my life. Since my ordination in 1968, I was convinced that as a priest I have given my entire life to the Church and therefore there was no need to give more to the parish. I was wrong. My conversion experience started in 2013 when I decided to register as a parishioner. Next, I signed up on WeShare, our parish online giving web site and now give my life more consciously as a steward. Stewardship has made me a better priest: setting time to pray for the needs of parishioners and more time to deepen my faith in order to nourish you better. I have become more generous with the treasure God gives me, by giving more than 10% of my gross income to the parish offertory. What really transformed my life was a stewardship conference in Wichita, KS, February 2014. Speaker after speaker led me to realize that as pastor of my parish I had to live stewardship before I could give homilies about it.

Msgr.  John S. Mbinda