February 7, 2020

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Our call through stewardship is to serve, to give, and to love

Patti LambRecently, a new door opened, and I was led to a job change. I’m actually returning to my former job, and I am very fond of my former co-workers, so I’m excited.

The only part I’m not excited about is the drive. The commute, door to door, is about 50 minutes. Driving has never been especially easy or pleasant for me. I’m a nervous driver. (I suppose that’s a bit of an understatement.)

My niece suggested that I listen to podcasts on the drive to make my commute time productive and enjoyable.

She suggested starting with podcasts by a priest named Father Mike Schmitz, so I Googled him and randomly selected a podcast, which drew me in right away. The topic of this episode was stewardship, and it made me rethink the way I’ve been viewing “my stuff.”

Father Mike explained that there are two ways of looking at the world and all we’ve been given.

One is to view the world as an owner. As an owner, I’d make a statement like this to indicate that these things are my possessions. “This is my body, and this is my time, and that is my bank account.”

The other way of looking at the world, the priest says, is to look at our possessions not as an owner, but as a steward. In that case, I’d make statements like this to indicate that these things have been entrusted to me. “God has entrusted me with this body and this much time and these financial blessings.”

Father Mike referred to the parable of the gold coins, highlighting that the coins didn’t belong to the servants, but were entrusted to them.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Father Mike’s podcast reminded me that everything belongs to God, and nothing is really “ours” to claim.

Wikipedia states that “a biblical world view of stewardship can be consciously defined as ‘utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.’ ”

To simplify that statement: We’ve all been blessed with unique gifts to help each other and bless each other, and we are called to serve others and build up those around us. That is how we work together to build God’s kingdom.

“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 author of Big Magic, a book currently on my nightstand, says “I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.”

I love that statement. Wouldn’t the world be different if we looked at each other as divine beings, carriers of God’s gifts and graces? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we saw each other as sacred because God dwells in every one of us, at every stage of our lives?

When we reach the end of our earthly existence, I believe that we’ll be called to give an account of how we used our gifts to serve others and glorify God. I think that our eternal reward hinges on stewardship. Stewardship looks different for everyone, based on the gifts you’ve been given and the people by whom God has surrounded you.

It might entail caregiving or sharing money to help a cause or making dinner for a grieving family or simply giving a hug. Jesus tells us the goal is to serve, to give, and to love.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

Local site Links: