Give As The Giver Gives
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4:10).
The stretch of Ordinary Time after Easter is time that offers many celebrations. The month of May warms up with First Communions and Mother’s Day. June and July offer Father’s Day and Independence Day. In addition to these, my family has several birthdays scattered over July and August. There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate and give gifts!
In today’s world gifts are typically thought of as material things we purchase or make for others. During our youth we grow up receiving gifts for special occasions. Recall the anticipation of knowing one of these occasions is around the corner and wondering if we will be given one of the gifts on our list! If we are lucky, we receive just what we wanted. Are God’s gifts like these gifts?
The scripture above is the cornerstone of stewardship as outlined in the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Stewardship. We recognize something different about God’s gifts, mainly that: 1) God has given us unearned spiritual gifts, 2) we share them for the good of others, and 3) God’s gifts are wide-ranging.
God gives gifts differently; God blesses us with gifts that are unearned. There is no special occasion other than we have been given the gift of life. Within the gift of life, we receive different kinds of spiritual gifts. For example, some receive the gift of faith. Others may grow to simply offer words of compassion or encouragement to those in need. Others still may have the desire to help people by performing good deeds or works of service. What gifts have you been given?
God’s gifts only make sense if they are nurtured and developed for the good of others. Giving freely takes practice. I recall teaching my children to share, and still have to remind them of that lesson! In the U.S. there are many who possess material wealth and expert skills and retain them for their selfish purposes. God’s greatest gift to us was Jesus, and he gave everything for us. I recall learning that he is like a candle with wicks lit from both ends. All consuming. If we can gain a similar approach, our greatest gift to others very well might be ourself! What opportunities do you have to share your gift(s)?
Lastly, God gives gifts of wide-ranging capacity and varied grace. Our limited human capacity for understanding may lead some to feel they are lacking compared with others. Our challenge is to become grateful for God’s gifts and find others in our communities who would benefit from even a fraction of what we have! How are your gifts different from a loved ones?
During these times of great celebration let us be thoughtful and generous in the gifts we give others. Remember, God has generously given to us for no other reason than he loves us! He gives a wide-range of spiritual and material gifts not for us to keep or bury, but for the purpose of blessing others and developing the community of God!