The Good and Faithful Steward Challenge

And who is the “good and faithful steward?”  In the Gospel of Matthew (25: 14 – 30), we hear of the Parable of the Talents, where a master shares his wealth with his servants.  To one he gave five talents (i.e., a talent was a unit of money in those days); to another he gave two, and to a third he gave one talent.  Without further instructions, he left. 

Returning some time later, he requested an accounting of what he had entrusted.  The one who received five grew the wealth to ten talents; the one who received two grew it to four, and he who received one . . . had it buried in the ground.

Some people have had difficulty understanding why the third servant was reprimanded, to put it mildly, for “securing” the talent.  At least he didn’t lose it and knew where it was located, one might say.  Yes, but the wealth wasn’t his to begin with, and it was obvious he did not understand the generosity of the Master, who wished for risks to be taken, and generosity to be lived.

The Good and Faithful Steward Challenge places us in the position of having received a share of talents, and having to decide how to wisely steward this wealth towards generosity.  Ask yourself – how is this to be best used and stewarded by me?   In an age of pandemic, there is more than enough need to go around.   For the Parish Council and Endowment Committee, the issue was not even so much proceeding with the challenge, but doing so in a time when people are struggling against great odds.  Now is the time for this.

Perhaps your neighbor needs the money.  Maybe you are a generous supporter of food banks in town, but now is an opportunity to help buy food to a food bank outside of your own town of residence.    Maybe you can use it, but you make a commitment to show generosity in the future when times are better.

You can also choose to match this gift as well.

The distribution is made possible by a portion of the income earned from  2019 returns from the Endowment Fund.  The mission of the Fund is, “to help support our Parish Ministries, to provide programs of charity, and to ensure our heritage and religious beliefs for the ages to come.”  We are called to fulfill this mission, especially in light of ourselves having been recipients of a beloved parishioner’s generosity!  Let’s fulfill this mission together!

Finally, the Challenge, like the Parable, is a matter between you and God – no one else.  We only ask that you do so prayerfully and with reflection.  Please return the card and let us know how you engaged in good deeds, but anonymously.  Let’s share these stories and be encouraged by one another!

God bless you!

To learn more, here some FAQs

Testimonials (These are just a few of the incredible responses we have received!)

My family decided to donate $600.00 to the Gray House in Springfield. It is a nonprofit that helps underprivileged and minority families.  We are helping six children attend Kids Club for a month.

[This] has renewed my faith in the church because of this act of kindness.

First let me congratulate you for one of the nicest and thoughtful gestures you have come up with!  I have decided to give my check (money) to a young woman who had to close her small shop and who is in much need of help!  I have tripled the sum so she can pay her rent and stay another month with her family.  I thank you for thinking of me and St. Luke for its incredible gesture!  God be with us!

At first I wasn't sure what to do with the Endowment money.  But the more I read the letter, the purpose was to help someone or something that had a need.  I gave the money to a college student very dear and near to our hearts at {}.  The virus has limited her income.  It was wonderful to pass it along to her and she was really excited and most grateful to receive it.

I sent $100 to the Domestic Abuse shelter as more people are having problems and must find help and places to put them.  Enfield Public School Nutrition director.  This pays for children whose family cannot afford to pay their lunch.  They will still be able to have lunch.  Backpacks and school supplies and after school programs in Enfield.  Warming Center for homeless people that will {?} when it gets cold.

From someone laid off recently -- "food for neighbor"

Vets/USO

We were happy to make a donation with the stewardship money and our own money to Feeding America.  We believe that with the current health and economic crisis in our country this was a worthy cause.  Thank you to St. Luke for allowing us to make this donation.

We were able to match the gift to a young couple with small children.  One of the parents were diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, right after purchasing their first home.  The other parent has always worked in the human welfare occupation, always helping others.

Donation -- inspired to match or multiply it!

We paid for three books for a college student.  She was struggling to afford her tuition due to loss of job due to the covid virus.  She was extremely grateful.

We donated to the Mass Bail Fund (Isaiah 61:1).  The money will help indigent people held on small amounts of bail.  We added extra money.  We had planned to donate before but this gift motivated us.  This is a wonderful idea.  We hope St. Luke's repeats this annually.

Donated to the Springfield Rescue Mission and the Enfield Loaves and Fishes.

St. Nicholas Church, NY -- 911 Memorial Site; St. Jude's Children's Hospital; Shriner's Hospital; St. Basil Academy; MD Anderson Children's Cancer Center  (inspired to match or multiply the gift!)

We decided to donate the $300 to our local {} Food Bank, which services our town and surrounding towns.  During this time of COVID and hardship, it gave us a great feeling to be able to help those in need . . . and, the Food Bank was thrilled to receive the donation!

Donated to the Lighthouse Clubhouse in Springfield, MA

We have six grandchildren ages 5 - 9.  We decided to give $50 to each child to pick a charity of their own to donate to.  With their parents' help one chose Horizons, a family service center.  Another chose Hunger Resource Center Northern VA Family Service.  Two choe No Kid Hungry and the last two chose First Book.  We also matched each donation for a total of $600.  Their families were then inspired to donate also (with the kids also contributing from their piggy banks).

We gave a matching donation to Covenant Soup Kitchen, which has distributed over 308,000 meals to families in need since the beginning of this crisis.

We were very pleased with the initiative that the church took in putting forth this Stewardship Gift program by using some of the Endowment Fund money.  This has been a difficult time for so many and such a gift was a nice way to remind us all to "count our blessings" and to remember those less fortunate.  We donated the $300 to the Western Massacusetts Food Bank.  We thought that this stewardship message was an important message for our children and especially our young grandchildren to hear.  We decided to match the church's gift and send that sum to our children and their families.  We included a copy of the church's letter along with our own letter explaining that in the spirit of "paying it forward," we would like our children and grandchildren to talk about people in need and devide where they would like to send the money we had given them.  Upon receiving our letter, our kids called us immediately and said this was a great idea and were thrilled to be part of this endeavor.

I was deeply moved by what our church committee did.  I thought this is a beautiful idea and will help so many different people/groups.  God Bless!

Give me money and I know how to spend it!  Boy was I wrong.  This was a very difficult challenge! After much thought and prayer, I/we divided the amount into three and added some additional money: 1) Donation to a friend for assistance with burial expenses; 2) Donation to unknown pregnant mom who lost her husband at a very young age; 3) Donation to Saint Basil's Academy in memory of a loved one.

$300 donated to the Western Mass Food Bank.  We have volunteered and suported this food organization for years and it feels good to make this gift.  Thank you Saint Luke's!  (Inspired to match or increase for food insecurity and social justice)

Your generosity motivated me to start a monthly donation to Shriner's Hospital for Children.  For years I have been giving $19 a month to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and now I am happy to start donating to Shriner's as well.  Of course the monthly donation will continue long past  the $300 you sent! Thank you!

Our friend an neighbor lost her husband in a tragic accident two years ago.  We reached out to her to get her opinion on Mary's Place, a non-profit that helps children heal after losing a parent.  She shared she has put her children into private therapy, and could not provide a reference.  After thinking hard and long, it came to us to give our neighbor the gift directly to help pay for her childrens' therapy.  Having lsot my dad when I was a child, I knew how important grieving is and having professional help. 

[I was/We were] able to provide a nice dinner for our brother for his new baby's welcome home.  Our A/C broke amid the extreme heat wave and we didn't have money for a new one.  We were able to get one.

Great idea! We tripled the donation and gave to the Sprongfield Rescue Mission.

I sent a $500 donation to the charity Unbound.  It's an international Christian organization that helps vulnerable children and families.  I have sponsored 2 young girls many years in Guatemala.  I feel the need is great to share with people who have to struggle for basics just to exist.