As Psalm 24 teaches, “The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it.” This is a fundamental principle of biblical stewardship for us as Catholics. God owns everything, we are called by Him simply as managers or administrators acting on His behalf.
During our baptism, we become disciples and followers of Jesus as the minister anoints and blesses us with the following words: “Just as Jesus was anointed priest, prophet, and king, so may you live always as a member of his body sharing everlasting life.” Each one of us at our baptism was anointed like Jesus as priest, prophet, and king.
We are called as Jesus was to be benevolent kings to steward and share our assets during and after our lifetime with God’s children and our Lord. Ideally, we establish a Catholic legacy that shares our values and returns our gifts with increase when we are called home to the Lord.
Stewardship expresses our respect for God regarding the managing of everything He has placed under our control, which is all encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of ourselves and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that all we have is because of God. We will all be called to give an account to the rightful owner as to how well we managed all He entrusted to us, including our time, treasure and talent.
As Catholic stewards, we have the opportunity to create a will that expresses how the gifts received during our lifetime should be shared when we have passed on. A will helps us to share our Catholic values by sharing our assets with the ministries we deem close to our heart. A will allows us to establish our Catholic legacy by sharing our gifts in a way that builds His Kingdom by supporting our favorite parish, school, or ministry.
Without a will, we may burden our spouses, children, relatives, or the legal system with the challenge of discerning how our gifts should be distributed when our earthly life ends. This can lead to estate chaos that may not allow us to return to the Lord our gifts with increase, a foundational principal of Christian stewardship.
Leaving a legacy is as much about our values as it is about the size of our estates. The story of Prince Rogers Nelson, the singer and entertainer better known as Prince, illustrates the estate-planning pandemonium that can occur when someone passes without a will.
The Minneapolis-based musician, whose award-winning career spanned more than four decades, amassed millions of dollars in assets including property, investments, copyrights, and music-and-film royalties. Yet, the artist did not leave a will. Unmarried and childless, Prince’s estate was thrown into chaos when he passed in 2016 without a will or clear line of heirs among his siblings and half-siblings.
By not having a will, Prince didn’t exercise his right to determine who would and would not inherit a share of his estate or which shares his heirs would inherit. He also didn’t select the executor of his estate. The executor, or administrator, often is key to determining how an estate is distributed and how much is available to distribute.
As a result, Minnesota courts will make decisions for Prince’s estate. We will never know Prince’s desire because he did not leave a will. Meanwhile, years have passed, and the estate still is involved in litigation to determine how it will be distributed- delays that have diminished some of the estate’s income and assets.
When it comes to Christian stewardship, no matter our level of assets, the Lord wants us to be more than a Prince. He wants us to be priest, prophet, and king– not to serve as a ruler with might and power and armies, but as one who serves others out of love. Jesus carried out his baptism through his public preaching, through the giving of himself every day, and ultimately laying down his life out of love for all of us. We are called to commit ourselves as fully as we can to follow Jesus as priest, prophet, and king. We are called to discipleship and stewardship that honors His kingdom and glory.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can establish a Catholic legacy that makes a lasting impact on your favorite parish, school, or ministry, please contact Madelyn Weed at firstname.lastname@example.org or (407) 246-7188.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. -2 Corinthians 9:6