A Call for Every Steward (The 5Ts of Stewardship)
2nd Sunday of Lent
March 4, 2012
Genesis 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
“Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this: that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it”- Mikhail Bakunin
Today’s Gospel is the Transfiguration of Christ. The dazzling, blinding white light cast on the mountain declares that God invites that we should come out of ourselves and face the challenges of realities .
Christ transfiguration is telling us to regain the right perspective about our innate goodness, our vast capacity to work for love, mercy, and justice. The transfiguration for us is a matter of regaining who we are, and of discovering and revealing the mystery of who we are meant to be.
In this session, we want to call attention to five areas of faithful stewardship. These five areas are Time, Talent, Treasure, Temple and Testimony.
1) To present the 5Ts of Stewardship and to facilitate reflection about their responsibilities as Steward of God.
2) To instil among the participants the value of Stewardship in connection to renewal and transformation.
3) To challenge the participants to become good stewards in the family, in the workplace, in the church, in the community and in the country.
Suggested Activity: “Bayanihan”
Together with the facilitator, the group will do group activity e.g. community cleaning, planting or building a house. They will bring something that will help them in their work, e.g. broom, pail, dipper, trash can, etc. The facilitator, in consultation with the participants, will identify what work/activity is to be done and in which area?
- Are we familiar with the 5 T’s?
- Which of these Ts have we practiced and shared to others?
- Recognize your 5T’s and make them fruitfully by sharing it with others.
In December 16, 2011, tropical storm Sendong (Washi) unleashed 350 millimeters of rainfall in 24 hours that produced massive flash floods in Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete and Iligan cities.
More than 1,200 people died but many more are believed to have been buried or washed out to the sea. Thousands of survivors stayed in overcrowded evacuation centers and in makeshift centers, many of whom are women and children – all hungry, chilling and crying.
According to the findings of a geo-hazard analysis team from the University of the Philippines, the denudation of forest cover in Northern Mindanao is a significant factor to the severe flashfloods in CDO and Iligan. It is the forest that prevents soil erosion, acts as a sponge of rainfall and carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The loss of the forest increases disaster vulnerability in communities.
It is known that massive legal and illegal logging concessions are in Northern Mindanao. Environmentalists believe that there are thousands of hectares in forest cover under DENR-permitted logging operations in Mt. Kalatungan. Report says six Integrated Forests Management Agreements (IFMAs) that cover a total 55, 578 hectares have been operating within the area. There are also several government-approved Community-based Forest Management Agreements (CCFMAs) that allow logging through resource permits.
The national government is accountable for failing to implement anticipatory climate adaptation and risk reduction measures. Equally liable are the local government units who are negligent in climate adaptation measures. However, tragedies like this concerns everybody. All are stakeholders; therefore everybody has the duty and responsibility to work in solidarity to find ways to solve such problem in the future.
During Lent, we should examine how we utilize and manage our resources. Are we being good stewards of the resources (time, talent, treasure, temple and testimony) that God entrusted to us?
Let’s explore the 5Ts of Stewardship to truthfully reflect what we are as Steward of God’s gifts to us.
- The Stewardship of TIME
God expects us to use wisely the time He gives us. As good stewards, we have to manage our time, our life according to His will. Ephesians 5:16 warns us “try to make good use of the present time, because these days are evil”.
What are we doing with our time? Are we utilizing it in the service of others? Do we go to church on Sundays? Do we visit the sick and those in prison? Do we console our friends and neighbors who are in need of comfort? Do we teach and shepherd others to get closer to God? Do we pray and reflect? Or do we “kill” time in computer games, gambling, drinking sessions or gossiping?
- The Stewardship of TALENTS
God has ordained us with unique talents to glorify Him and continue His good works. They are not given just for ourselves. We need to share it to bring happiness to others.
Do you have a golden voice? Share it to the church. Are you a good lecturer? Be a member to the Catechist Ministry. Do you have a sense of humor? Regularly visit the sick and the prisoner, and share your laughter. Are you a good persuader? Support advocacy of justice and peace. Are you a leader? Practice good governance.
Whatever talents we have, may it be small or great in our human standard, we must offer it to the Lord. Remember, all that we have are loans from God. We are merely His stewards. We have to return it all to Him in gratitude.
- The Stewardship of TREASURE
We are asked to honor the Lord with our wealth with the fruits of all our produce (Prov 3:9). This means our material resources should be an instrument of God’s glory. But often times we prioritize allocating money for leisure and extravagant expenses, then God gets a portion of what is left. What we give, then, are not fruits, but scraps set aside for God. Matthew 6:33 says “Set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God and all these things will also be given to you”. When we give to God first, everything else falls into place (Prov 3:9-10; Mt 6:25-34). Remember: God wants a cheerful giver. In other words, we must offer out of the goodness of our heart, and not out of obligation or guilt (2 Cor 9:6-7). And when we give, we should give in proportion to the way the Lord has blessed us, and not make a display of what we have given (Mt 6:1-3).
So then, we must ask ourselves: Do we take pleasure in alms-giving? Do we contribute in Church’s social action projects?
- The Stewardship of TEMPLE
“Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, given by God?” (1 Cor. 6:19). This seems to be forgotten or, at least, thought of as an unimportant part of stewardship. Are we being good steward to take care of our bodies?
There is a saying, “you are what you eat”. In other words, if we eat greasy food, we become a fat greasy slob. This also applies to what we feed our minds. What controls our mind? Do you indulge in pornographic and/or violent entertainment? These examples can distort our mind as well as our body.
The ongoing debate about the RH bill has divided the nation. The opposing camps present their sides. Government officials, celebrities, academic professors, and some Church representatives, are in favor of the said bill. On the other hand, the Catholic hierarchy and other Christian and Muslim sectors stand firm against it. They oppose it because as stewards they want to preserve life.
RH Bill breeds undesirablevalues: greed, lust, and dishonesty. If we care about our body, we must preserve its holiness. RH Bill debasesthe purity of sexuality and encourages immorality (use of condoms and contraceptives encourages free sex), tramples on the sacredness of life (artificial contraceptives are abortifacients), increases health risks(carcinogen pills and contraceptives that cause cancer), and poses environmental hazards (the chemical materials used for contraceptives). It also breeds corruption because of the large amount of money involved in the lobbying behind the bill.
- The Stewardship of TESTIMONY
We are called to testify about our faith – to share to people what we have experienced, seen and heard about God’s plan for salvation. We hope that our examples will inspire others to seek God and to finally appreciate their roles as disciples of God.
The Bible says, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:8).This is the essence of discipleship and stewardship. Like Jesus, we must nurture an attitude of gratefulness to everything God has bestowed upon us.“Let your light shines” (Matthew 5:16).
Call to Action
We are challenged to renew ourselves and transform our society using the 5Ts. Practical actions are enumerated below to guide our personal renewal.
- Provide pastoral care by accompanying the people in their daily struggles. If we are sincere and consistent in our actions, people will start to listen and follow our ways.
- Be consistent in giving and sharing what we are and what we have. Tell stewardship stories. We are a people who love to listen to stories. And then invite people to share their personal stories of God’s love.
- Attend, initiate, and facilitate community prayers. Let people know that God communicates to us in prayers and invites us to action.
- Do outreach activities. Plant trees. Clean the streets. Visit the prison. Comfort the sick. And bring something when visiting these people. Generosity makes people understand that they are being cared.
- Invite others to give, share, and care. People experience great joy in giving. Thank people for what they have done, what they are doing, and what they will do for the needy.
- Be compassionate, be firm in our trust in God and recognize the goodness of His people. Share, promote justice and equality, humility, simplicity, and respect for God’s creation.
- Participate in solidarity activities for the good of the marginalized sectors such as Indigenous People, informal settlers, abandoned children and elders, among others.
You can add more…