“No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.” –Joshua 5:12
Over the forty years that the Israelites journeyed through the desert, God provided them with manna to eat. As soon as they were able to enjoy the fruits of the Promised Land, the manna ceased. Likewise, God’s blessings to us may change over the years, but it is important to trust that God will always provide His Stewards with all that we need.
“…He said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none.’” –Luke 13:7
We can all be like the barren fig tree at times. Do you cling to what you have or do you live Stewardship by generously sharing with others? How will you respond when God asks you what you have done with all the gifts He has given you? Remember, not only are we called to be generous, we are called to develop and nurture our gifts, and return them with increase. Remember, we are called to be generous with all of our gifts; especially the ones that means the most to us.
“I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession.” –Genesis 15:7
Just as the Lord gave Abraham, Moses and the Israelites a land to possess, He has also given each of us a home. Whether your home is grand or humble, it is a gift from God. Abraham prepared a great sacrifice to the Lord in gratitude for the home God gave him. How do you show in your Stewardship, gratitude to God for the home He has given you? Do you make a sacrifice of any kind? Do you return any of your finances to God, investing equally in your eternal home just as you invest in your earthly home?
“I have now brought you the first fruits of the products of the soil which you, O Lord, have given me.” –Deuteronomy 26:10
This line from the Old Testament offers two challenges. First, do we live our Stewardship by giving to God from our “first fruits” the first and best that we have to offer, or do we give from what we have leftover? Second, do we realize that everything we have and that everything you are has been given to us by God? Ask God for a grateful and generous heart, every day, in all circumstances.
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.” –Luke 6:43
Are you living Stewardship by using your gifts in the way God intended? Have you asked God how He would like you to use them? Do you compare yourself to others and complain about what you don’t have instead of being thankful for what you do have? God gives each of us unique gifts and a unique plan. Listen to how God is calling you to use your gifts, to bear good fruit, for the glory of His name.
“But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without expecting anything back…” –Luke 6:35
Easier said than done, right? But, if we are to imitate Christ, most of us need to practice mercy and compassion more frequently. Start with the little daily annoyances that we experience, the unkind word or hateful glance we receive. Instead of plotting revenge on that person, try saying a quick prayer for that person. Praying for our enemies doesn’t change them, it changes us. Mercy and compassion will keep us as Stewards on the path to holiness.
“Blessed are you when people hate you,… exclude and insult you, and denounce your name…on account of the Son of Man.” – Lk 6:22
All of us have been in situations when someone has made a negative comment or joke about God or our faithful Stewardship. How did you respond? Did you stay silent or pretend to go along with the crowd because you didn’t want to cause waves and then, later, you felt bad? Know that God is with you all the time; the Holy Spirit will put the right words in your mouth. Pray for the strength and courage to proclaim our faith to others, especially during uncomfortable situations.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said, ‘send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)
Every day, in little ways and in big ways, God asks, “Whom shall I send?” Whether it is someone to take on a new Stewardship ministry, to give a friendly smile to a stranger or to say a word of encouragement to a friend, God constantly provides opportunities to help someone in need. God is always talking to us; we just need to pay more attention. When you hear God calling have the courage to walk through the door and say “Here I am, Lord.”
“Love is paent, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous…” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Do you get jealous? Do you focus more on the things that other people have than on the gifts that God has given to you? Are you pompous? Do you acquire more possessions to impress others? At times we are all guilty of these things. Pray for Stewardship with humility. Humility helps us become less “self centered” and become more “God centered” for the sake of others.
“Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared…” – Neh 8:10
Ezra’s instructions to the people show us that God does not forbid us from enjoying the good things in life. He wants us to be happy! However, God expects us to be grateful for all that He has given us and through our Stewardship to generously share our blessings with those who are in need. Now here’s the hard part to share all we have without expecting anything in return.
“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Cor 12:7)
St. Paul tells us that God has blessed each of us for a reason. How has God blessed you? Are you using your gifts according to God’s plan? How are you helping to build God’s kingdom here on earth? Remember that if you don’t do the work God planned for you, no one else can do it. Live the life God has intended for you. Take %me to discern your charisms (gifts from the Holy Spirit). Experience the supernatural Peace and Joy God desires for each of us His Stewards.
“John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming…he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit...’” (Luke 3:16)
The Catholic Catechism states that “Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will.” In other words, as bap zed Catholics living in Stewardship, there is only one gift that we need to give to Jesus the gift of ourselves. Surrender yourself to God, place your trust in Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you for the greater glory of God.
“…They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” –Matthew 2:11)
What gifts do Stewards give to the Lord? Pope St. Gregory said that these three gifts represent what we should give God every day. Gold we should reflect Christ’s wisdom in all our relationships. Frankincense represents our daily prayer and adoration to God. Myrrh is a symbol of our daily sacrifices that we unite with Jesus for the sake of others.