Sunday Stewardship Reflection for December 31st – Holy Family

It was more than thirty years ago that I first laid eyes on our first child, a new born son.

I recall an overwhelming feeling of how amazing God is.

He created this wonderful gift!

Day-to-day family life can be a challenge for many of us at times. It helps to look to the example of the Holy Family; of Joseph and Mary as the best model for living out our vocations as parents. Inspired by their example, and led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are able steward the gift of our children as God desires. The most important gift any of us can give our children is to nurture them in faith; so that, like Jesus, “they grow and become strong, filled with wisdom” and have the “favor of God” upon them.

Caring for our families is indeed a most vital; and a good example of every day, real life Christian stewardship.

Dare to Think Differently

When I first heard about stewardship in 1994 it radically changed my thinking. This new way of thinking seemed so counter-cultural to me. Was I ready to take the risk? I took the risk and discovered a remarkably rewarding way of life. The rewards come as a result of the new habits and daily choices that stewardship has inspired me to embrace. Still, there have been many occasions when I have experienced those ‘out-of-nowhere’ rewards of stewardship that I can only explain as God-incidences.

For decades, the most popular approach for promoting stewardship in a parish has been the Time, Talent, & Treasure model. While this method may be tried, tested, and true, it is also a little tired. The three ‘T’s program is tired because it simply places a demand on people the moment they hear it. They think, “Oh, the parish wants me to volunteer and give more!”

Let’s dare to think differently about how we invite people to a greater commitment to this beautiful spirituality and way of life. Hearts and minds are transformed when we think outside the box of time, talent, and treasure. There is a better way to stewardship than the annual three ‘T’s appeal, a way that is both joyful and sustainable. God showed me this way at an International Catholic Stewardship Conference in 2008. I believed then that God was calling me to apply this way in my own life first, and then with time, God would make me ready to share it with others. It’s time.

Hearts and minds are transformed when we think outside the box of time, talent, and treasure

How do we change the way people think about stewardship? We can begin by demonstrating that stewardship is joyful when it is formed, not out of obligation or duty, but gratitude. At that conference in 2008, God introduced me to ten virtues that are the heart of the Christian steward’s way of thinking. Cultivating these stewardship virtues is God’s new and improved way to a more fruitful response to stewardship in a parish. This way is founded in the virtue of gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation because “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others” (Cicero). Prayer, humility, discipline, simplicity, trust, generosity, perseverance, patience, and mercy are the virtues that complete the way. I intend to explore each of the ten stewardship virtues in future posts.

Always grateful and hopeful in our good and gracious God,

J. Dan Potvin

 PS I’d be most grateful to hear your thoughts on stewardship.

You can contact me at the Companions of the Cross

Telephone: 613-728-3175 (local)

1-866-885-8824 (toll free)

Mobile: 613-808-3309

Email: jdanielp@joppastewardship.com

Joppa Stewardship Leaders Bulletin Reflections for June 4th, 2017 Pentecost Sunday

 

Over 2000 years ago God poured out His Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost. The undying power and strength of Pentecost remains available to us today! We have the Holy Spirit. The question is how much of us does the Holy Spirit have? Give the Holy Spirit permission to work in you. The Holy Spirit wants to move us; to “activate our gifts” as we hear in today’s second reading. Today St. Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit gives each of us different gifts, and a variety of ways to serve. And, it is important for us to remember that stewardship is not limited to serving in the Church. Think about how you serve others and name it for what it is…you are being a good Christian steward.

Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

Sunday’s Stewardship Reflection

May 28th – Ascension of the Lord  

Immediately before Jesus’ Ascension he commissions his followers. In our baptism we have received the same calling. Baptism summons us to be Jesus’ disciples. As his disciples each of us are to be good stewards of the faith that we have received. We do so by sharing our faith with others, especially those who do not yet know Jesus. In today’s first reading Jesus lays out his plan for how we are to be good stewards of our faith. We are to be Jesus’ “witnesses” and take the Gospel to the “ends of the earth”.  Sounds like a daunting task, yet we have the confidence of knowing that we have “the power of the Holy Spirit upon us”! Evangelization is our common vocation as followers of Jesus. We do not need much formal education or formation to evangelize. Our love for the Lord is more than enough to be effective in making disciples in our little part of the world. “So what are we waiting for?” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel)

 

Used with permission, Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

Joppa Stewardship Leaders Bulletin Reflections for May 7th, 2017

May 7th – 4th Sunday of Easter

Peter’s transformation by the Holy Spirit is nothing short of amazing! He immediately goes out and calls the people to repentance with zeal and confidence. This is a man who was once so afraid he even denied knowing Jesus. Repentance is to change the course of our entire lives. As good stewards of the faith we profess, we too can give people an opportunity to change the course of their lives. When we share our faith with others we offer them the greatest gift they could ever receive! Each of us are agents in the New Evangelization. Good stewards are bold yet gentle in sharing their faith. Always careful to avoid condemning or criticizing. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows but “by attraction”. (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel) Let the light of Christ in you shine and you will be attractive to others.

 

Used with permission, Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

Sunday Stewardship Reflections

Bulletin Stewardship Reflections for April 2nd to 30th, 2017

 April 2nd – 5th Sunday of Lent

 …and you shall know that I am the Lord

The people of Israel failed again and again to be good stewards of God’s covenant with them. A stiff-necked and prideful people, they followed their own advice. Still, God is always merciful, and through the prophet Ezekiel he promises to restore them, not simply for their own good, but to remind them of his divine sovereignty over all that they are ever able to accomplish or possess. God is the one and only true source of all of our talents, abilities, opportunities, and possessions. Humbly accepting this stewardship reality is the way to avoid a prideful disposition. Humility is the stewardship virtue that gets pride out of the way and enables God to use us, and the gifts given to us, to advance his Kingdom.

Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

April 9th – Passion Sunday

He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. Therefore God highly exalted him… 

Jesus humbled himself and became the suffering servant for our salvation. As stewards of the good news entrusted to us, we too may suffer for the faith from time to time. Jesus completely emptied himself in serving God’s purpose, and ultimately his suffering was rewarded. For us, being God’s servants has its rewards in the life to come, but also in the life we enjoy here and now. Rewards like peace of mind that comes from trusting in God, and the feeling that we are making a difference in the lives of others. Still, we may occasionally suffer rejection for being good stewards of what we profess to believe. So, we pray this Holy Week that we may empty ourselves of pride or fear, and have the humility, wisdom, and courage to share our faith where and when needed.

Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

April 16th – Easter Sunday

Each year at Easter Vigil we renew our baptismal promises. Our baptism changes us forever. Baptism calls us to be Disciples of Christ. Responding to the call to follow Jesus involves many choices – choosing a lifestyle of stewardship is the response of an authentic disciple. Stewardship is to walk the road of joy. When we take care to cultivate and share our gifts we experience the joy of returning our gifts to God with increase. Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, which changed our world forever. How might your discipleship and stewardship change your world, and the world around you, this year?

Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

April 23rd – 2nd Sunday of Easter

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe

Believing is seeing! Stewardship is rooted in the belief that all we possess, the goods of this earth, the relationships we enjoy, the talent and abilities we have, even our opportunities are all created by and come from our good and gracious God. Having this belief, we see all of life with new lenses – it’s all God’s gift, and he desires for us to be good stewards of it all. In believing this basic truth about stewardship our eyes are further opened to seeing God’s goodness and generosity everywhere around us.

Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa

April 30th – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Today’s gospel is a familiar story. Why did these men not immediately recognize Jesus? With all the busyness of modern life, do we sometimes miss opportunities to recognize Christ in our midst? “Stewardship always starts with a personal experience of the Risen Christ in our midst and in our hearts” (Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan). Let us pray this Easter season, and all year, that we may be good stewards of each 24 hour day and take some time to quiet ourselves every day so that we may be attentive to the voice of God in our lives.  Moreover, giving the Holy Spirit permission to guide all of our decision making processes and thoughts will aid us in drawing even closer to the risen Christ, and in doing so we become even better disciples and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Copyright © 2017, by Joseph Daniel Potvin, Joppa Stewardship Leaders, Ottawa