Good morning, my name is Ralph Chestine.
This brief presentation on stewardship will explain what inspires me to give of my time, talent and treasures, and hopefully inspire others in our parish to freely give of theirs.
Like so many of our families we work, take a vacation, try to save for our children’s college and pay a lot of bills. Besides that, Amy and I both realize that we have been blessed with abundance; we both know that these blessing are from God.
These blessings include a loving Parish Family, great Priests, a good paying Job and outstanding friends.
So, during the early years of our marriage both Amy and I worked very hard, I also attended a local university during the day.
While having our first son, Ryan we relied heavily on her parents for assistance, everything from watching Ryan to using their washer and dryer on the weekends (this helped us save a lot of quarters), we also received several hand me down cars.
Finally, after graduation and getting a position with Boeing we were able to improve our lives and buy a house in Monroe. Around that time Amy and I both became determined to buckle down and live out our faith, this started by attending St. Mary of the Valley.
I became catholic shortly afterward.
Over time we have figured out that we all have our own walk with the lord, with that said we all should help each other along the way.
We can do this by freely sharing our time, talents and treasures.
What inspires me to give me of my time?
My inspiration comes from knowing the preciousness of life and knowing that all we have is time, the love for each other and that of God.
How we spend, our time is ultimately, what everything comes down to.
God our Father has blessed us with life. You can freely chose to grow closer to him, or you can spend your time growing further away.
This reality is what inspires me.
I want to grow in Christ and I want heaven for myself, my family and all of you.
What inspires the sharing of my Talents?
Generally, the inspiration comes from just being asked to help, or seeing a need.
Everyone has a talent, I believe one of mine is that of organizing, being a team player and occasionally that of a leader: I have shared my time and talents both inside and outside of our parish
Within our Parish, we can share our talents in several ministries. I myself became a Knight of Columbus and recently joining St. Vincent DePaul. In these two ministries, we help the poor and support pro-life activities in addition to religious vocations.
I have also been a past member of our Parish and Finance Councils, both Amy and I have helped with the High School Youth Program, and chaperoned several Catholic Campouts and Youth Conventions.
Outside of our Parish, I contributed to our community as a Youth Coach for Baseball, Basketball, Soccer and as a Boy Scout leader.
Hopefully, I have helped someone along the way in these endeavors
Inspiration of giving of my treasure.
Growing up poor in California, the San Joaquin Valley (outside of Stockton) with a single mother struggling to put food on the table, trying to keep the monthly rent, electric and water bills paid while receiving federal assistance, was never easy or enough.
We actually wound up moving every single year within a 7-year period. During that time, I also lived with grandparents, uncles and aunts. Thank God for Family and the fact that the people of our great county are so charitable.
My early years taught me that I had an obligation, freely given though, to help the poor and my community.
I would like to say that the little things matter, from spending time with your children, saying a quick prayer for others or just praying for the souls of the deceased.
Remember, we all know someone in need, either financial, emotional or spiritual need.
With that said: Just ask yourself “where do I spend my time”, “what talents can I give freely” and “How do I spend my treasure”
I would like to thank all of you for your time and may God richly bless you.
Hello, When Father asked us to speak on stewardship, after saying yes, my next reaction was; this will be hard.
Asking is difficult; we have all been in the position of asking. Asking for help or a favor. Wondering if it will be an imposition. On the other hand, hopefully we have all been blessed with friends who see a need and offer to lend a hand, or jump in and help with a project. It’s a wonderful gift. Better yet is when we can offer our own time, such as: I can watch your kids or talents: I know how to do that – let me help, our treasures: dinners on us. Are we doing something because we have been asked or are we giving a gift? As father said in his homily last week “God doesn’t need something from us, it is what we need from God” To me this means God wants us to have that joy by giving of our gifts, it’s a chance to share, which brings us to the topic of our talk, Stewardship and Sacrificial offering.
Our envelopes this month say, “We return to the Lord the giver of all our gifts, a truly grateful first share of our time, talent and treasure” And yes I do actually read them, they are my mini weekly stewardship inspiration.
For Ralph and me in the beginning, we knew we needed to donate, so we just picked an easy amount and that was it. We were mostly consistent on donating especially if I remembered the checkbook. Occasionally we increased this amount on stewardship weekends. Then came a talk that had us really discussing our blessings and were we giving sacrificially or from our surplus.
We decided to make giving a priority and give it a place in our budget, just like any bill to be paid monthly. For us, we decided to aim for the biblical 10%, 1% to the annual appeal, some to other charities, and the remainder to our parish. It took a while to reach our goal but we really opened our hearts to this, we both enjoy sharing our time and talents with our parish, that wasn’t a struggle for us, we LIKED that!
Giving of our treasures is a little more difficult, and it seems the devil also wants in on it, showing us where else to spend that amount, yet along the way through discussion and prayer, we have gone from an obligation to giving a gift, and end up staying on track.
We learned we are giving to God, so though we may question the timing, or budget or necessity of something we are committed to our gift, we learned that a gift is just that, no strings attached, we learned to let go, we are not accountable for how our gift is used, we already did our part. This is not naïve; it just means that we are trusting in God. Giving is a reminder of our blessings and a way that we thank God. It is a constant renewal of trust with God and being able to answer how are we helping build the kingdom of God, and what have you done for the least of my people.
Another way we learned to look at our offering was the ripple effect, for example the Mary Bloom Center, one person may be served, but it spreads out to their families and the community, so more lives are impacted then when you started helping the one person. We have all proven as a parish that we can rise to the occasion for our projects, and our daily parish life is THAT start so we may affect our lives, our families and then the community.
The technical information on Sacrificial offering is that it should be planned, proportionate and a percent. Everyone’s situation is different, for us, we have come to realize that our support is needed, it’s a gift, it’s a percent and we give it a conscious place in our budget.
Now comes the ask: If you are able, please make the commitment to our parish, if you already donating are able to increase your donation? Giving to our parish builds up the body of Christ, if you are unable at this time; please think about making a commitment to a ministry or time for prayers for our parish.