Take a good look at what we’ve been given; Are we good stewards?
The requests from so many institutions that flood our society reach into our pockets on a daily basis and it is difficult to discern which ones we open our coffers to.
We are aware of the monetary requirements that are expected in church as tithing to support our clergy and the services we receive. Although it may be a question for some to decide how much to give we have an obligation to help support this institution. Will there be any recompense for those who do not give either funds or time?
From Luke Jesus told his listeners to whom should we invite when holding a banquet besides your friends and relatives; “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Lk. 14: 123 - 14).
“A man who was going on a journey and called in his servants entrusting each to a certain amount of his money. One received five talents, a second received three talents, and the last one received one talent. Immediately the ones who received five talents and the second one received three, invested what they had. The third servant dug a hole and buried his one talent. Upon the return of the master he called them as the two who invested their share of talents were given praise and rewarded for their tenacity with the money given them. However, the servant who refused to invest even a small amount was punished for not using discretion with what he was given.” (cf Mt. 25: 14 - 30).
In the section from Luke we are told that using what we have been given from God we should be generous to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. From the narrative of Matthew it can become a disaster for us when even a small amount is given to us to spread the wealth to others who are in need.
However, there is another gift most of us have been given that ends on a shelf for others to admire from our efforts. This is the Sacramental Grace God hands to us and where too many take this and hold before the eyes of people who will praise them and lift each one to heights that belong to God alone, and not to the ones God has graciously given his graces. Here it is not money but talents of artistic gifts that will become examples of the Holy Spirit within each.
This perhaps is the one downfall of people who like the Pharisees used their position to parade themselves before the general population. They made of themselves something they were not and took the praise on themselves instead of exulting God for the gifts given to all of us.
Hypocrisy occurs too frequently when anyone accepts the grace of God and uses it to promote their own activity that is not theirs to parade before men. The praise is to God alone and as good stewards we should never take first place in the arena of glory ahead of God.
Ralph B. Hathaway