dave baranowski

STEWARDSHIP | Financial peace starts with putting God first

For many people, God and money run "neck and neck" as the top priority. Ashamedly, for part of my adult life, money was a bigger priority for me than God. "No one can serve two masters. He will hate the one and love the other... You cannot serve God and mammon (wealth)" (Matthew 6:24).

In working with many St. Louis parishes over the past several years, a few things have become clear:

• People absolutely crave God, but are unsure or tentative on how to start the relationship.

Stewardship: Endurance – Character – Hope

We like to see immediate results. We like success. But success is a process, and part of the process is failure. We tend to learn more from failure than success: "For the just man falls seven times and rises again..." (Proverbs 24:16).

Many of us have seen success and failure over the years, and from this we learn that building a stewardship culture takes time — you won't necessarily see immediate results.

STEWARDSHIP | “Better the ball:” Returning our gifts to God with increase

When my children attended St. Francis of Assisi grade school years ago, I coached a lot of volleyball, both at the CYC and club levels. As I learned more about coaching volleyball, one phrase has stuck with me over the years — "better the ball." That statement bears further explanation.

STEWARDSHIP | Being grateful, every day

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? Let that question sink in for a minute. Would you even be around today? Would your family, friends, job, home, food, clothing, car, parish, etc. be around today? The list goes on and on.

That question gets to the very core of stewardship — recognizing all the gifts we have been given and being grateful for them, every day.

STEWARDSHIP | In God we trust: We are called to be generous with everything

Putting complete trust in God is one of the characteristics of living a stewardship lifestyle. It means being generous with all of our gifts; not just one or two things we pick and choose.

If we're honest with ourselves, when it comes to sharing, many pick the path of least resistance, the path that causes the least discomfort. We tend to share from our surplus.

Many of us know people who go to daily Mass and regularly attend parish religious events, yet they don't participate in parish ministries or make a weekly financial offering at Mass.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Stewardship: A renewal of our personal covenant with God

God has been making covenants with mankind since Adam and Eve. Remember Abraham, Moses, David, Noah and the New Covenant with Jesus, to name several. Covenants are part of our faith and sacred tradition.

Every year in the fall, many parishes celebrate their annual parish stewardship renewal. It's a time for both parish communities and individual parishioners to reflect on the gifts they have been given and then, in gratitude, return to God a small portion for everything He has given us.

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