We typically don't think of stewardship and communion being related to one another as we may think of stewardship being something we do (e.g. giving money as a steward or managing our affairs) and communion as something we experience (e.g. communing through the Eucharist or having fellowship at fellowship hour). Yet if we look deeper, we can start to see how these two relate to each other.
First, we see that our stewardship enables communion. Practically speaking, if we weren't stewards of our local parish there wouldn't be a parish to come in contact with each other. Communion cannot occur without some sort of stewardship first, some form of offering of time, talent and treasure. If we didn't want to offer our time to make the effort to come to church, then we would remain islands, isolated from one another alone and estranged. If we didn't use our God given talents to cultivate ministries to be the hands and feet of Christ, then our community would have no life and leave the door of communion with each other shut. If we didn't offer a portion of our treasure to the church, we wouldn't have all the means to facilitate an environment to grow in love and communion with one another. Although obvious, it is a simple fact that without stewardship, communion is just not possible.
Pressing into this concept more deeply, we see that when God created the material world in Genesis, he gave a ministry to mankind to be stewards over all creation. This ministry of stewardship St. Peter talks about in his 1st epistle - 'But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people' (1st Peter 2:9). If we are all part of this royal priesthood, called to be stewards over all creation, we should ask ourselves what is the end goal of this vocation? Is it just to have more fish in the sea, to be able to have dogs do tricks, and to make sure that we have food each day from our crops? No, our stewardship exercised in the royal priesthood is to bring the creation into communion with each other and with the Trinitarian God. We are called to 'make of one's life a liturgy, a prayer, a doxology, to make of it a sacrament of perpetual communion' (Paul Evdokimov 'The Struggle with God'). Thus God has ordained all of humanity with this priestly role to be stewards in every aspect of our lives to usher into communion and union with Him.
As we reflect upon both the practical and theological connections between stewardship and communion, let us personally consider how we live our stewardship as a conduit of communion with one another. Let us consider St. Paul's words that 'God loves cheerful givers' because joy is the root of both stewardship and communion. When we practically live out our stewardship we are filled with joy because we see the fruit of communion that opens up. When we enter into the joy of communion, be it through the Eucharist or fellowship, it inspires us to stewardship, to build up the Church and help those in need, to expand joy beyond just ourselves.
May our loving Lord help us all to be faithful oἰκονόμος of our lives to bring the joyful fruit of kοινωνία into our lives, the lives of those around us, and to all the world.