How does the Baptismal Covenant inform our stewardship?

Progressively bigger stacks of coins grow plant shoots.
 on November 30, 2022

Practicing stewardship intimately ties us to who we are as a Christian people. Stewardship is an expression of faith. It is not simply the Church’s way of raising money; rather, it is a spiritual discipline that encompasses our very being as Christians. It is a radical departure from our secular understanding of charity, where we give to an external need. Instead, as stewards, we are motivated to give because it is something we internally need to do; it is intrinsic to our very understanding of what it means to be fully human.

The practice of stewardship manifests itself in our daily lives through the Baptismal Covenant. In the Rite of Baptism, we profess our faith and reply affirmatively to the following statements:

  • Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
  • Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent, and return to the Lord?
  • Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?
  • Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
  • Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

The commitment we make at baptism is not merely a statement of belief but is also a call to action. It recalls the teaching: “Suppose there are siblings who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, ‘God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!’ if you don’t give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead” (James 2:15-17).

In the breaking of bread and sharing of fellowship with one another, we recognize the temporal needs of our faith community. Our response is to ensure that our parish has the human and financial resources necessary to support vibrant ministry – ensuring a sound physical structure, strong and capable volunteer leadership, outreach programs, Christian education, hospitality, youth ministry and music – in addition to providing all parish staff, including clergy, with equitable and fair compensation for their work. The practice and teaching of stewardship education becomes vital to help us understand why we give joyfully.

We resist evil by inclining our hearts to follow God’s commandments and to be examples of Christ in our world today. In thought, word and action we seek justice, practice tolerance, and celebrate the diversity that is found within our Church and society. It means reaching out to those who are different from us and making them feel welcome at the table of Christ.

The good news as found in holy scripture guides and nourishes us on our faith journey. The way we live gives testimony to our belief that our God is a God of salvation and mercy. We are mindful of the need to feed the hungry, give drink to those who thirst, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit those imprisoned (Matthew 26: 35-36). As stewards, we live to give hope to others.

Loving our neighbour as ourselves acknowledges that we have a responsibility beyond our own interests. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges his followers to become “other” centred. We are a Christian community endowed with many wonderful blessings. In gratitude, our faith obliges us to share what we have received with those less fortunate and those on the margins of society.

As we strive for justice and peace among all peoples, we seek to create the world as Christ himself envisioned it: a world where people freely give without expecting anything in return and give in abundance because of the joy that is experienced in giving. In living the life of a joyful steward, we can then proclaim that “there is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35).

Our vocation as Christians is that we give freely and in great generosity “for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Recognizing that God gave us everything we have in trust, we, in turn, share the gifts that we have been given. As we prepare for the birth of the Christ-child, may we be especially generous, recognizing the transformative power that giving has on all of God’s people.


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