A Lay Witness Discusses Stewardship
Saturday/Sunday, November 15/16, 2014

My name is Brandon.  I’m an accountant, a member of the Finance Council, and serve as part of a team that is addressing the financial needs of the parish.  My wife and I have been members of Good Shepherd for about 10 years and our two children, Sydney and Alex, are growing up in this community.   I will be your “lay witness” for the next few minutes.   I agreed to speak in front of everyone because I love it here and I want to play a role in making it succeed.  We have some financial challenges ahead of us.   Challenges that can be met if we collectively reflect on and raise our level of care, commitment and management of Good Shepherd….in a word “stewardship.” 

Recently, I read a comment made by a woman named Kathleen Baine regarding stewardship.  She says:  

“For years, my giving had been a mirror of what my parents had done. I watched them drop the envelope in the tray each week and followed their example, never asking why or even feeling the need to question. It was as normal as getting up for church every Sunday morning. When I began working and going to church on my own, giving was the natural thing to do: You go to church, you give. I was going to church, so I gave.  Simple.  Natural. 

But that really isn’t a reason, is it? I found myself forced to stop and sincerely reflect on something that had become a routine habit and consider the meaning behind it. Why do I give? After major self-reflection, along with some reading and talks with friends, I gained a much deeper understanding of my answer to this question and what it really means.”

So I did the same.   I thought about “why do I give”……….I give because:

  • I want more people in the world who are kind.  You can shape that here.

  • I want my children to understand that it’s not acceptable to turn your back on the needy or misfortunate. 

  • I want to be a part of a community that would help me and lift me up when I’m down. 

  • I want to go to a service and feel good and hopeful about the days to come. 

  • I want to be part of a community that values service. 

  • I want to show gratitude.   I have a home, healthy child, good friends, a car, food on the table, a job, extra funds to travel and enjoy life, etc.   I’m not responsible for all of that.  Some of these things are gifts and I must show some gratitude.  

  • I want access to event and classroom space that can benefit my social life and my children’s religious education.

  • I want a place that helps me.   Helps me stay grounded….helps me find spiritual focus….helps me become the best version of myself.   God is often put 2nd in my life.   The causes…distractions, pressures, stresses, laziness……I know that…it happens….I’m human.  But here, my soul, my spirit is always given priority.  

I have a long list of “wants” and expectations of Good Shepherd.  It’s not fair for me to expect so much if I don’t give equally in return.   

All my “wants” are satisfied here.   That is unique, that is special.   You don’t get this same feeling everywhere.  Most of us can honestly acknowledge that.   And…..I don’t want that to go away.  I don’t want our opportunity of having a special place that nourishes all our “wants” to fall apart or be reduced because people fail to hear the call of the Good Shepherd.   The call to…..Stewardship.   

But I see it and I know.   I see why this church is friendly.  It’s because you are friendly and make people feel welcome.   These chairs are filled today to the extent that you want them to be filled.   This church does great works because many of you sitting out there are the ones who do that great work.   When we decide to take ownership of this church, then we decide to elevate God in our everyday lives.   Saying yes to stewardship means you acknowledge that this is not Father Charlie’s church.   Saying yes to stewardship means you acknowledge that this is not the bishop’s church.  Saying yes to stewardship means you acknowledge that this is not the Diocese church.   Saying yes to stewardship means you acknowledge that this is our church.  It is what we make it.  It is our collective generosity and effort that sustain it.   I see it and I know.  

I know we can meet the financial challenges of the Good Shepherd because….I see people here who know how to love.

I know we can meet the financial challenges of the Good Shepherd because I’ve witnessed true kindness extended to one another.  

I know we can meet the financial challenges of the Good Shepherd because people in this room know how to achieve goals.  

I know we can meet the financial challenges of the Good Shepherd because people here know how to work a little harder to achieve something better    AND

I know that when we come together in the name of stewardship and take ownership of this parish, we will make Good Shepherd be the best reflection of ourselves.