When a tailor makes and sells a garment, only one service is performed, that of putting clothes on the body. The same is true of the cobbler making and selling a pair of shoes; the only service in this case is to put shoes on the feet. But when a person makes a gift to another person, of money or some object, a double service is performed. First, the receiver derives a material benefit from the gift. Second, the giver derives a spiritual benefit because this act of generosity would have brought a blessing to his soul. And there can be a third service: if the receiver is filled with humble gratitude, that will be a blessing to the person’s soul. Imagine a society in which no one sold anything but everyone shared freely their skills and wealth. Then every action in that society would bring not only material benefits, but spiritual benefits also. Such societies already exist in miniature; families operate in this way. How wonderful it would be if villages and towns could become like large families. Then Heaven would come down to earth.
St John Chrysostom
Have a blessed Christmas and allow Stewardship to bring Heaven to earth!
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. It turns out that one can labour an entire age and think that all sorts of good is gathered, but it is all for nothing, if it was not gathered with the Lord. What does it mean to gather with the Lord? To labour and act according to faith in the Lord, according to His commandments, with the help of His grace, being inspired by His promises—to live so that the spirit of life is the spirit of Christ.
Reflect on this in terms of your Stewardship of Labor-how do you conduct yourself with your daily work? Are you faithful? Do you act as if God is watching you? Do you feel accountable for how you use your time? Are there opportunities to help those in need? All of our “work” whether it is how we make our living or as Stewards of our Church will be judged based on gathering or scattering!
It is clear that he who gathers not with the Lord will not gather truth and goodness, he will not gather what could be called a true possession, which is lasting and valuable. No matter what such a person gathers, it all has no use, all is labour in vain, a vain waste of energy and time.
I have often said that almsgiving has been introduced not for the sake of the receivers, but of the givers, for the latter make the greatest gain.
Fall is an exciting time for children and a wonderful opportunity to include Stewardship in discussions with them. Whether they are in primary schools or in college, it is important to provide them with an understanding of Stewardship as well as to set an example as parents. The greatest benefit is that as they grow older, the ministry of Stewardship will be a constant in their lives and as they understand that everything they have is provided through God’s grace (even the oxygen they breathe) – it is important that they give of their Time, Talents and Treasures. This is a requirement from God and a necessity for our salvation. Many schools have now included community service within the curriculum. As you plan your children’s calendar and activities, Stewardship should be included as well. Consider:
- Projects with the parish
- Community events that help the poor
- Soup kitchens that feed the hungry
- Shopping for a food pantry or delivering a Thanksgiving meal to a family
- Toys for Tots programs during Christmas
As we progress in our faith, we are all called to “imitate Christ” through our actions. One very important practice is how we manage our Time, Talents and Treasures as we will be held accountable for what God has provided.