Blind Obedience

In December, our thoughts are drawn to the event in Bethlehem that occurred over 2,000 years ago. We think about a virgin named Mary and how she gave birth to a child and laid him not in a warm incubator in a spotless maternity ward, but in a trough used for hay in a barn with no heat.

Christmas in the stableWe know this is the promised Redeemer, because we’ve been taught and because as believers we have faith that the story, while perhaps not newspaper reporter accurate, is true. But we’ve had years to figure this out. His first visitors were less informed, but were obedient to God’s word, and this is our lesson.

We recall and are humbled by who the Father chose to be his Son’s first visitors. Simple sheep herders, probably with their dogs and of course the new-born lambs that could not be left behind should wolves appear. They came because the angels told them to go—blind obedience to something they could not have understood.

Later, this stable-born Child and his Mother were visited by three kings who on another mission of blind obedience were seeking a royal child—the “king of the Jews.” Instead, on their knees they paid homage to a boy child born in a barn to parents who were obviously poor. And afterwards, refused to tell King Herod anything. Once again, obedient to a dream, they left for home by another path.

Can we be challenged by the shepherds and kings to say “yes” to God’s plan even though we do not understand fully the result of our obedience? At the Stewardship Foundation, we commit once again to be obedient to our charter in the coming year. Considering the state of the markets this month, it will take diligence and optimism. We are up to the task!

On behalf of staff and board, we pray that 2019 is a happy and rewarding year for you and your families. Peace and blessings from The Stewardship Foundation.

Stewardship is Our Journey

At the core of The Stewardship Foundation’s core beliefs is the biblical story of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) where Christ teaches that to those who are entrusted with much, whether it be money, assets or non-financial riches, much is expected.

As stewards of our clients’ investment choices, we often reflect on our mission and how well we communicate this to our friends, family, and the clients who entrust us with their financial future everyday.

all saintsAs Peter preached to the early Christians, and what is still our personal challenge today, “Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 4:8-11)

Yes, our vocation is to be “good stewards” of other people’s money, and we certainly try hard to do that with strength and without complaining, though since October we’ve been tempted to throw darts at a photo of the Merrill Lynch bull.

According the U.S. Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on Stewardship, under Obstacles to Stewardship, we read…

At times, we can find it far too easy to ignore spiritual realities and to deny religion a role in shaping human and social values. As Catholics who have entered into the mainstream of American society and experienced its advantages, many of us also have been adversely influenced by this secular culture. We know what it is to struggle against selfishness and greed, and we realize that it is harder for many today to accept the challenge of being a Christian steward. It is essential, therefore, that we make a special effort to understand the true meaning of stewardship and live accordingly.

As Christmas approaches, let us be reminded to review our roles of Christian Stewardship, and as the Bishops suggest, look to Mary as the ideal steward, living her life in a spirit of fidelity and service.

Time For Stewardship

With recent news almost totally focused on the 2018 hurricane season and catfights between Democrats and Republicans, we’d like to share a bit of good news about the state of charitable giving and remind our friends that we are barreling toward another tax season.

laboratoryRegardless of our political distractions, we’re still a generous, big-hearted country when it comes to individual giving. It seems that we as a country are on track for a slightly higher percentage increase in 2018 than last year—a banner year for charitable giving. As individuals, we give about 70% of all charitable donations in the U.S. with the balance coming from estates, foundations, and corporations.

The passage of tax reform legislation could change the landscape of charitable giving for some households, but the majority of our clients have benefited from a booming stock market and are enthusiastic about exploring meaningful charitable giving opportunities.

Donor-Advised Funds, where donors receive an immediate tax benefit and can make suggestions about where the money goes, is the #1 rising trend. Now is the time to get in touch with us about adding to, or participating in, donor-advised funds for this tax year.

As always, let the real meaning of “stewardship” remain the driving force for your charity and reason for giving.