“Who is a Christian steward?
One who receives God’s gifts gratefully,
Cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner,
Shares them in justice and love with all,
And returns them with increase to the Lord.”
Last week, and in the coming weeks, we are going to be hearing a lot about Stewardship in the Gospels. You will be receiving a letter from me including a Stewardship Renewal card in the mail along with the Diocesan Stewardship prayer. You probably noticed the large poster “Stewardship: A Way of Life” as you entered the church. Why all this focus on Stewardship?
The simple answer is that Stewardship is indeed a way of life. Stewardship is simply one way of understanding our call as disciples of Jesus. The principles of gratitude, responsibility, accountability, generosity, and sacrifice are essential elements of being a disciple of Jesus.
Stewardship is as simple as breathing. Every breath we take is a gift from God. Because it is a gift it can not be held, but must be released and returned to God. Trying to hang on to the many gifts that God has given us is as foolish as trying to hold our breath… and it would lead to death.
This Sunday’s Gospel (luke 16:19-31) teaches us that if we hang on to the gifts God has given us, as the rich man did, we are creating a great chasm between ourselves and God. Rather than being grateful for all he had received and acting with justice and love (see the Bishops definition of a Christian Steward above), the rich man ignored Lazarus and God.
In the coming weeks, as we focus on stewardship as a way of life, may we learn the lesson of the rich man and Lazarus.