"Smile five times a day at someone you don't really want to smile at at all.
...Sometimes I find it hard to smile at my Sister, but then I pray."
- Mother Teresa
Living a life of stewardship involves a lot of praying. Because God respects our free will, we actually need to let Him know we are ready to serve, let Him know that He can count on us. This is the first step, and we do this through prayer. Think of the call of Isaiah. In the presence of the Lord, Isaiah is feeling very inferior. But when the Lord asks, "Whom shall I send?" Isaiah responds with a very enthusiastic, "Here I am, send me!" We must echo Isaiah's enthusiasm in prayer as we embark upon the most meaningful journey of our lives. And to sustain us on this journey, we must keep praying. Constant communication with God is absolutely, positively essential to stewardship and will help us maintain strength as we face opposition in our work. Opposition? Oh, yeah, let's have a brief word about opposition before we part.
As we've discussed in earlier articles, living a life of stewardship is not always an easy life. In fact, when Jesus commissioned His twelve apostles to go preach, heal, raise the dead and drive out demons, He gave them an idea of what to expect. He warned them that He is sending them out like sheep among wolves; He warned them that they may be turned over to the courts and be persecuted; He warned them that they will be hated because of His name. So expect opposition in your work, perhaps from those you serve, from your friends, or even from your family. Change is hard in the beginning so it is important to allow those closest to you to get used to your new life of stewardship. Pray for them. Ask them to pray for you. And, remember, God is with you.
Try not to become discouraged with your new life of sacrifice, for stewardship is surely a sacrifice. To others it may not seem very glamorous, and it is definitely not one embraced by the culture we live in today. But you and I know that following Jesus promises the yoke of Jesus which is easy and a burden which is light (Matthew 11:30). Sounds contradictory, right? Not really. I'm sure you can think of many examples in your own life where you have had to do something hard to achieve something wonderful, like working long hours to put your kids through school, or saving every penny for a deposit on a first home. It is that wonderful goal that makes the journey much more bearable, meaningful, and even enjoyable.
Stewardship is a sacrifice that should be enjoyed because it leads to a closer relationship with God - not just at the end of the journey, but each time we share our time, our talent and our treasure. Because, remember, we will see the face of Jesus in those we serve and we will reflect His face as well. We will allow the Spirit to lead us and to unravel the gifts God has planted in us. We will totally trust in God, especially when we cannot see the benefit of our service. We will listen earnestly when He calls even if it's uncomfortable or inconvenient. We will leave God's signature on all we do. And we will pray. Each of these steps involves interacting with God on a very personal level. And the closer we are to God, the lighter the yoke, the easier the burden.
So now that we've covered all the steps to becoming a good
steward, let us pray for one another as we embark on our journey of
stewardship. Look for God's direction as you get involved. You
can start with Holy Angels. Here are just a few examples:
In addition, Holy Angels hosts stewardship fairs during the year. Be on the lookout for these as parish ministries are showcased with volunteers ready to answer questions and accept new participants. Pray for the Spirit to lead you to one as you embark on your journey of stewardship. You can do it!
Well, if you've read all six of these stewardship articles, chances are excellent you are serious about getting to know God better through a life of beautiful sacrifice - a life rewarded by God, not man. You will surely share in your Master's joy.
Take the first step. God bless you. Stay strong and see you around.
(c) 2011, Holy Angels Church.