In a syndicated article by Pamela Yip, which appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, she wrote about ‘money scripts,’ which are our “unconscious core beliefs about money.” The article purports that understanding your money script will help you become financially successful. According to her article, there are four basic scripts: Money Avoidance, where people believe money is bad; Money Worship, where people believe money brings ultimate happiness; Money Status, where people achieve their status from money; and Money Vigilance for those who are frugal.
She missed one–what about the Faithful Steward, which is so much more than all of the above?
The Faithful Steward recognizes that everything he has is a gift from God, and he takes credit for nothing. Those who follow the tenets of Biblical stewardship understand their responsibility to faithfully manage all the gifts they have been given. They appreciate money as a tool, with no intrinsic value. However, they also know that how the tool is used can be good or evil, and they choose to use money for good.
Faithful Stewards strive to spend some of each day with God, through prayer, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, scripture reading, quiet meditation and other spiritual activities. They trust in a generous God to always provide for them, knowing none of us will ever have all that we want, but we will always have all that we need.
Their spending is prayerful, responsible and conscious. Most importantly, it is balanced. Instead of leaning to one of the above scripts, they recognize all of the scripts and can appropriately acknowledge them and maneuver between them as needed.
Faithful Stewards flourish by recognizing and using their gifts. They acknowledge that God has given each of us unique skills and talents so that together we can do the work of Our Lord. In 1 Peter 4:10, we are advised, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Faithful Stewards gratefully return to the creator what they have been given. They strive to give generously to support the building up of God’s kingdom, not because God or the Church needs their money but because they feel an overwhelming need to show their love and gratitude to God. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus challenged us to give as it has been given to us–the foundation of Biblical stewardship. The generosity of stewards comes from within and not from any external pressure or need for reward.
Biblical stewardship is discipleship, and is lived when we strive to put God first in all things and to follow where Our Lord might lead.
Faithful Stewards realize that society considers money to be the definition of success and fulfillment and they do not agree with that line of thought. They know nothing as ephemeral as money can have an eternal impact. While society encourages us to continually strive for more and more, faithful stewards recognize that we already have more than enough. In fact, we have enough to share.