It’s worth repeating that stewardship can be a strong force for turning negatives into positives, the subject of our current message series.
Two weeks ago, the first reading encouraged us to become like the trees that show no distress in the drought, but still bear fruit for God and for others (Jeremiah 17:8); perhaps we can consider it a spiritual form of the old slogan, “When the going gets tough, the tough keep going.” Thankfully, today’s readings have even more references about being fruitful.
According to the first reading and psalm, “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had” (Sirach 27:5), and “It is good to give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 92:2). If we bear fruit for God and others out of our love and gratitude, it means we can take something that is barren or blossomless, and turn it into something bountiful, compassionate, and helpful for someone else. We sustain and grow, but won’t wither.
We are all created in God’s image, and try to do his will on earth. God has identified us as his children, his daughters and sons, and loves us unconditionally. Our identities flow into and through our stewardship efforts: “For every tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44).
This isn’t something to fear or stress about, but rather embrace and celebrate. Because God uniquely created and endowed us with our souls, we can use our time, talent, and treasure to bring about good things for others.
We can also take heart because the Gospel tells us that that “[a] good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good” (Luke 6:45). Above all, Saint Paul encourages us to be “firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). The harvest is plentiful, endless, and tilled by God, with us to help him.
--Jim Wollak, Parishioner
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