Today marks the beginning of a new parish year with a slogan called, Grow 2 Go. From now through Easter, our priests will preach every week on themes of spiritual growth. One of the key indicators of growth as Christian disciples is our willingness to serve as worthy stewards of our time, talent, and treasure.
We need look no further for a great example of Christian communities growing in the spiritual tradition of stewardship than in the early Church. For example, the Bible says that those who believed “owned everything in common.” That is, they sold their goods and possessions and distributed the proceeds among themselves according to what each family or person needed. These first Christians went to the Temple every day, met in their houses for the breaking of the bread, and shared their food gladly and generously. As a result, the Lord daily increased those saved within their community (Acts 2:43-47).
Another example is Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. Recognizing that some new believers needed extra encouragement to grow into good stewards, Saint Paul gently challenged the community to share their surplus to help Christians in Macedonia (northern Greece) as they had the year before (2 Corinthians 8:10-15). He also asked them, according to their means, to help financially the persecuted Jewish Christians in Palestine, who were suffering through a famine. Paul told them that, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, but those that sow bountifully will reap bountifully; for “God loves a cheerful giver” (9:6-7). By giving to those in need, the far-off Greeks learned to express their love for their fellow Christians, their unity with them despite other differences, and gave thanks to God for their own bounty.
As Saint Paul reminds us, we are “God’s field, God’s building” and his co-workers (1 Corinthians 3:9). Whatever we do as stewards therefore should reflect those of the apostles and the early Christians, so that when we help others, we are not only carrying out God’s plans, but also growing in our faith and spiritual identity as stewards of the Lord.
--Jim Wollak, Parishioner
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