To minister is defined as “giving service, care, or aid; attending as to wants or necessities.” St. Theophan the Recluse reflects: Do you want to be first? Be of service to everyone, that is, be the last among them. The Lord ministered and even washed the feet of His Disciples. There is no need, therefore, to be ashamed of ministering to someone. Minister in any way possible and with whatever means you can. Serve not only the body (i.e. food, clothing and shelter) but also the soul; give understanding and advice, point out a good book, console and support.
Make a big difference even in very small ways!
The newspaper ads, television commercials and radio station spots all announce the availability of school supplies and the beginning of a new school year. A process that still, as an adult, leaves a queasy or uneasy feeling in my stomach. However, once our children (and even their parents) are acclimated to this environment, everything falls into place. This is the same approach we should take with God and our Stewardship… a little uneasy and uncertain, but with faith in God, we know everything will be fine. As you plan for this upcoming school-year, remember to include your Church and the many ministries it supports. Make your 2018 Stewardship commitment in September so your parish can effectively plan for the new year. As always, this includes a balance of your Time, Talents and Treasures!
Therefore, we also need to show much mercy. Much and little aren’t measured by the quantity of things given, but by the giver’s means. But if you don’t have anything but a compassionate soul, this will prepare a reward for you. So then, let us be inclined to show mercy and all other blessings will follow. For those that have a spirit of love and mercy will give money away if they have it. If they see anyone in distress, they will weep. If they encounter people who have been wronged, they will stand up for them. If they see others treated maliciously, they will reach out their hand to them. For those who have a treasure house of blessings, a loving and merciful soul will make it overflow to meet all of their neighbors needs – St. John Chrysostom
As we focus on Stewardship. let us practice mercy in our relationships with others.
In our work environment, a strong team member is defined as a person knowledgeable in specific areas, one who adds value to the company, those who solve a problem, identify solutions and add revenue to the bottom line. Then, there are others that just can’t accomplish the goals and objectives of the strong… what typically happens?
Considering our Stewardship of others (those we live with, work with, go to Church or school with) in relation to St. John Chrysostom’s comment -“Are you powerful? Let the weak have trial of your power. Let him come to know your strength, please him! And so, if you are rich or in power, do not please yourself but the poor and needy, because in this way, you will at once have true glory to enjoy and be doing much service.”
Today, find someone that you can help, guide, lend a hand to or just simply support.
Jesus teaches us not only that riches are to be despised, but they are also full of danger. They are the root of seducing evils and deceive the blind human mind by hidden deception. God rebukes rich fools who think only of their earthly wealth and boast in the abundance of their overflowing harvests. He says “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then who shall those things be which thou has provided?” The fool was rejoicing in his supplies when he would die that very night; one whose life was already failing was thinking about the abundance of his food. However, the Lord tells us that those who sell all their possessions and distribute them for the poor become perfect and complete. In doing so, they lay up treasures for themselves in Heaven. He says that those that follow him are not entangled by worldly possessions… accompany their possessions which they send to God. For such a reward, let us all prepare ourselves, learn to pray, and discern from our prayers what we should become… for He promises that all things will be added to those who seek God’s kingdom and righteousness.
In his famous work known as The Ladder of Divine Ascent, St. John Climacus writes how our life can be perfected in a union with Christ. He illustrates 30 steps that are necessary to reach Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Through these steps, we make changes in our lives that help us to become Christ-like, to experience Christian perfection which is to live just as Jesus did.
As we reflect upon these steps, let us focus our Stewardship efforts on Time, Talents and Treasures. Pray and consider how we can make a difference and let’s remember St. John’s guidance that we “live just as Jesus did” and exercise all of the gifts that God has provided to us. St. John’s theme is living our daily life for the Heavenly (which is everlasting) and not the earthly (which is temporary).
O holy Father John, with rivers of tears you have made the barren desert bloom, and with heartfelt sighings of repentance you have made your labors bear fruit a hundredfold. O Saint, pray to Christ our God for the Salvation of our souls. Amen.
Have you ever considered that Stewardship is necessary for individual Salvation?
Many verses in the Bible and reflection from the Holy Fathers clearly focus on the fact that we will be judged by how we use the gifts that God has given us. Stewardship is not limited to the financial aspect, the grounds, the buildings that encompass the Church property but all of the gifts that one has. It is a good Steward’s responsibility to care for everything that he or she has since it was provided by God to be used for His work.This is why we must consider Stewardship as spiritual and focus on our Time, Talents and Treasures.
2 Corinthians 9:6 – But this I say: He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.
Luke 12:34 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Evening Vespers – Suddenly the Judge will come and the deeds of each will be revealed, but with fear, we cry out in the middle of the night, Holy, Holy , Holy art though O’ God, through the Theotokos have mercy on us
As we reflect on our commitment to God and the Church, let us consider how we use our gifts so that we can make a good account before the Dread Judgment Seat of Christ.