“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” Mark 9:41
We are made in God’s image and likeness. We tend to forget this. When you look at other, do you see the face of Jesus in them? When other look at you, do they see the face of Jesus in you? When we realize that all lives matter to God, then gratitude and generously become easier. Why? Because that’s way we are made! We are one Body of Christ; when one of us is hurting, all of us feel the pain.
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35
Jesus teaches us that we are called love one another. Love involves sacrifice. Sacrifice is a word that many of us don’t like to hear. We think it means that we must give up something that we want. However, the literal meaning of sacrifice is “to make holy’” from the words “sacer”= sacred and “facere”= to make. In other words, we make our lives holy by sharing our gifts in the service of God.
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" Mark 8:34
Living a stewardship lifestyle means not only being responsible for my own life, but for the lives of others as well. We realize that our gifts are not intended for ourselves, rather they are meant to be shared with others. "Taking up my cross" means doing things when someone else needs me or not when its convenient for me.
"Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?." James 2:5
What is more important— being rich in faith or rich in possession? Society tells us that possessions are more important. God teaches a different lesson. When we are rich in faith, we keep God first and experience true joy and peace. When we put possessions first, we soon realize we can never have enough and happiness is fleeting. When we put faith over possessions we truly realize it is better to give than receive.
“Be doers of the word and not hearers only...” James 1:22
It’s easy to understand the definition of stewardship living a grateful and generous life. The hard part is doing it! How do your actions reflect God’s word? Do you share your time in prayer with God? Do you use your talent to help those in need? Are you generous with your financial resources? If not, what are your waiting for?
“If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve…As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
When we commit to serve the Lord, we must be willing to become a disciple in the work of the Lord. A disciple is a person who spends time in prayer every day, joyfully participates in charitable works and generously supports their local parish and Church mission. If we say we serve God, we must actually do something and not merely talk about it.
"And Mary said, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior." Luke 1:46
After Jesus, we look to Mary as our model of stewardship. Her entire life lived in obedience to God's will. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, Mary reflects the light of Christ. Like Mary, we too are called to reflect Christ to the world. We do this by living grateful and generous lives. We do this by putting other's needs before our wants.
"Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!" – 1 Kings 19:7
God knows that committing to a stewardship lifestyle is difficult. However, we were not designed to do it on our own, we need His help. Fortunately, God gave us the greatest gift of all, His son, Jesus. Through the gift of the Eucharistic we join our sacrifice of the Holy Mass and receive the strength and courage to be his joyful disciples.
“Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.” – Exodus 16:4
When the Israelites gathered more than their daily portion of manna, the surplus became wormy and rotten. In the same way today, self-reliance, pride and ego leads to hoarding and excessive surplus of goods and money. Living a stewardship lifestyle helps us discern our “wants” from our “needs”. Living a grateful and generous lifestyles reminds us that God will provide all that we need and that we have plenty to share.