MUSINGS FROM MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS (V.6)
Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace;
that is enough for me.
Money conversations are often overlaid with anxiety and the reasons are like the name of the demoniac in Mark 5-“legion.” “Finances are personal.” “How am I going to pay my bills?” “How are we going to keep the church going?” “I can’t give like I use too?” You get the point. I have spent my entire adult life raising money for churches and non-profits and spent a lot of those same years struggling to make ends meet for myself and my family. I understand the tensions.
I have come to realize that stewardship is an opportunity to express our faith in concrete ways, which allows God’s grace and love to be set free in our lives and communities. If everything I have is ultimately a gift from God, then I am free to use it for my own good and for the benefit of others. Gratitude is the recognition of the goodness of God; generosity of time, talents, and treasure is the joyful response to the grace of God.
There are responsibilities that come with being a child of God. We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper; we are stewards of creation for today and future generations; we are to live in time and space with the recognition that God is God and we are not.; we are to be “a light on the hill” in this world of hate and fear. As Jesus reminds us “Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8.
What and how you give, well that is between you and God. In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with demands and attempts to manipulate our minds and appetites, there is another “still small voice” offering us the better way of freedom and love. Stewardship is saying yes to God’s gift with our whole lives. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)