Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook page and tweeted about Ryan Broyles, the Detroit Lion wide receiver who despite a multi-million dollar NFL contract, lives with his wife on a yearly budget of $60,000. Broyles met with a financial advisor when he was first drafted and then decided he would invest and save most of his salary so when he left the NFL for good, he would be financially secure. In order to live this lifestyle, he still owns the car he had in college and he primarily spends money for his needs and not his wants. Of course, because he has grown so accustomed to his lifestyle, he claims that he and his wife want for nothing.
I was struck by his sense of financial stewardship. Now, he doesn’t maintain, as far as I know, that his simple living has to do with faith in God, but he did say that “whatever comes, it’s just a blessing.” Also, how this sense of stewardship plays into the other aspects of his life, I do not know either. But what he does illustrate beautifully is one characteristic that is key to becoming a good Christian steward: maturity.
The US Bishops pastoral letter on stewardship has as its first conviction that we are called to be mature disciples of Jesus Christ that are willing to respond to Christ’s call regardless of the cost. Maturity in our modern American society sometimes seems to be in short supply. So often we are about immediate gratification and we focus more on our wants instead of our needs. We find ourselves unable to see the big picture or the value of waiting for anything. This is true with money, possessions, sex, and relationships. And certainly it is true with faith.
From maturity comes discipline. Discipline allows us to become better than we were yesterday. It makes achieving big goals possible and provides pathways for dreams to come true. And it can transform men and women who have met Jesus into disciples who answer the call regardless of the cost. Discipline in prayer, virtuous living, practices of generosity, development of talents, and management of time all help you and I become mature disciples.
What do you want today? Is it the same as what you need? The beauty of the Ryan Broyles story is that his needs and wants have become the same thing. His longing for something more than what he needs has been squelched by his mature response to his life situation. May God not only grant to you what you need today, but also satisfy any hunger for something more.