Stewardship is Not a Competition

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

chess-603624_1280

As everyday stewards, I hope that each of us tries to live daily lives of generosity for the glory of God. I hope that we are all working to cultivate characteristics of a good everyday steward so that we can grow in maturity of faith and draw closer to Christ. But if we could accurately see on a magical computer spreadsheet how everyone else around us was living life would it impact how we lived out our stewardship way of life? If we found out that others weren’t trying as hard as we were or they were not nearly as generous as we would it give us reason to pause?

In the workplace, school, and general life, people can easily look around and choose to adapt what they are doing to match more closely what others are doing. Why give work more hours if no one else is willing? Why give a 20% tip to a waiter if you suspect everyone else is only giving 15%? Why spend hours studying for a test when no one else is taking it that seriously?

Our lives of stewardship should never be measured against that of others. Even though we are all called to give all we are and all we have to God, each one of us is unique in our response to that call. Instead of any type of comparison that may temper our generosity, we should hold to the truth that the more we give of ourselves the more fulfilled we will feel. Also, as we grow in our relationship with God, the more we will want to glorify him. Stewardship is not a competition. It is a call to serve a God without counting the cost.

You Don’t Need a Loan to Love

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

ss peter and paul embrace

I have to smile when I read in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” I smile because I know that in today’s world few people owe nothing to anyone. We have credit card debt, mortgages, student loans, car loans, and new loans to consolidate old loans. It would seem that we actually owe everything to everyone.

These debts are of this world. I am pretty sure no one residing in heaven is still making mortgage payments. We have created contracts in this world to make possible certain transactions of goods, services, and shelter. But there is one thing that we naturally owe one another and that lasts longer than our time on earth: love.

You do not need to take out a loan to have more love to give. There also is no limit to the love you have been given to share. However, it is the one gift that we sometimes treat with the least respect. We hold back love due to sins of pride, prejudice, and apathy. We distort and manipulate love for our own gain and selfish desires. We can find ourselves placing more importance on the things for which we have taken out loans than the love that is eternal.

I am trying the best I can to get to a point where I no longer owe anything to banks and mortgage lenders. I don’t want to leave this world owing anyone for the earthly things I had in this life. But even more importantly, I realize the shame it would be to leave people behind that didn’t get enough love from me. There is nothing greater than love.