Who is a good steward?
In the 12th chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about a master who comes home from a wedding feast. If he finds his servants awake when he arrives, Jesus says, the master will have them sit at table and the master will serve them. Jesus then concludes that we do not know when the Son of Man will return, so we must be ready. Jesus finally asks, “Who is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household?”
Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians (4:1-2) calls himself a steward of the mysteries of God; to be a steward, he adds, is to be found trustworthy.
St. Peter, in his first letter (4:10), admonishes his hearers to avoid the evils of the age and, instead, to love one another, especially practicing hospitality. He adds: “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” so that, in all things, God may be glorified.
Stewardship is not about efficiency and organization. Rather, it is all about giving glory to God by being faithful, wise, trustworthy and generous.
Many begging letters (that’s what my grandmother always called them) come across my desk every day. My practice used to be just to chuck them into the waste basket. It would be very good if there were resources to benefit all of them. Since that is not possible, however, I have since made it a habit to send a quick prayer to our Heavenly Father that he look kindly on these people and their good works. Then the request is discarded. Not everything can be done, but it simply does not do to completely ignore those who need us. In so doing, we might miss the opportunity to serve Christ the master as he returns at an inconvenient time.
This summons to be stewards, to exercise good stewardship falls upon all those who are followers of Jesus Christ. He does expect us to handle very carefully the wonderful mysteries we have been given: salvation, grace, the sacraments, the church, forgiveness of sins, faith, hope and love. These mysteries deserve our utmost care.
Each of us will care for these mysteries in different ways, but care for them we must. How can we who have experienced these great gifts of God not want to share them, hand them on, bring others to enjoy this grace?
Certainly, all of us have heard the phrase, “Time, talent and treasure.” In our families, in our parishes, in our diocese, and in the universal church and world, we are to be about giving glory to God. We do so by sharing with others.
There is much selfishness in our world today. It seems like a world which has been untouched by the tremendous gift of God’s own Son pouring out his life and love for us. Protecting who we are and what we have is the watchword for our times, instead of the pouring out of ourselves in sacrificial imitation of Jesus. This will not give God glory.
My sisters and brothers, let us all be good stewards of God’s mysteries, generous and faithful, not counting the cost to ourselves, but rather laying up treasure for ourselves in heaven.