“Get out of the way!” 

“Get out of the way!”  – Discovering Healthy Humility

U2’s new album ‘Songs of Experience’ has an awesome song (actually every track is awesome!) entitled ‘Get Out of Your Own Way’. This song has reminded me of an event in my life many years ago that changed everything…

I was not looking for Christian stewardship when it found me in 1992. That is when I was introduced to this beautiful way of life by our parish priest Fr. Darrin Gurr.

Once again I did not see it coming, when God called me to make promoting Christian stewardship my life’s work and ministry in 1999. That calling is a story for another time. My God-given mission in life is to share my belief in the Christian stewardship way of life. It is a calling that I believe I need to live boldly and confidently!

Still, at the same time I feel like I need to be gentle and remain humble. In the early years of my ministry I frequently experienced a tension between my desire to remain humble and the need to show confidence. Everything changed for me when I attended a ‘Face-to-Face’® retreat in 2007. I attended the retreat that weekend in search of finding a balance between humility and confidence. Something happened at the very start of the retreat that caught my attention to say the least. I heard Jesus’ voice and had a vision I will never forget!

We were all gathered for opening prayer and worship to begin the retreat. We were calling on the Holy Spirit to come fill this place! Then I heard it…“Get out of the way!” I could hear His voice, as if He were standing right beside me. It came again, “Get out of the way, my Father is trying to do something through you and you keep getting in the way.” The vision was as clear as the voice – Jesus swooping down out of the clouds, and He seemed to have a certain sense of urgency about Him. He stood behind me, and with almost an air of frustration with me, yelled, “Get out of the way!” I thought, “Am I physically in the way?” Then I had an epiphany; it was my pride that was in the way.

That vision was another God-incidence that became the turning point at which I began to embrace a ‘healthy humility’. At the same time I discovered a new ‘God-grounded confidence’. Following the experience of that retreat, I found a great deal of strength in remaining humble by simply keeping my eye on Jesus.  I realized we can do anything if we stay focused on Jesus.  By staying focused on Jesus, we can be all that God has called us to be, and do what He has called us to do. Peter could only walk on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, when he looked away, he started to worry about what was going on around him, and he sank. (Matthew 14:30)   When I worry about what people think, or become concerned about receiving recognition for my work, I am not being very humble. I believe that lack of humility inhibits my ability to receive God’s wisdom and guidance. Since that, “Get out of the way” retreat experience, I spend time in prayer every day – I don’t begin a day without it – no bible, no breakfast! Spending time in God’s word reflecting on the life and teachings of Jesus is AWESOME because He shows us the way to humility.

Humility is one of the virtues we must possess if we are to experience the fullness of life that Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) Only by placing ourselves completely under Christ’s authority will we be given the wisdom and, any authority to boldly share the Good News with others. Pride is a very serious obstacle to authentic discipleship. My pride manifested itself in worrying too much about what people thought of me. The feeling that I had to prove something or impress someone was rooted in pride.  Today, the most important audience for me is God. I simply keep “getting out of the way” and through the power of the Holy Spirit, God does the rest.  

How do you cultivate the virtue of humility in your life? I’d love to hear from you.

Always grateful and hopeful in our good and gracious God,

J. Daniel

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