Thursday, December 9, 2010

On Christian Stewardship V

Dear Parish Faithful,

Here is the fifth meditation on Christian stewardship from Fr. Stanley Harakas. Once again, remember that he is building off of St. Paul in II COR. 9:6-11. Struggling with hesitancy or anxiety is difficult, but the meditation below offers some real insight into the "bigger picture" which can inform that struggle and our ultimate decisions to be stewards of God's abundant giving to us.

Give from the abundance received from God (II COR. 9:8). The Apostle promises to hearts that are united to God: "you always [will have] all sufficiency" (v. 8). Hesitation to give freely, which is driven by the desire to "guarantee" one's own needs, is tempered by knowing God's abounding grace. Even those of very simple means, but who truly know the Lord, understand that they have a real measure of "abundance for every good work." (v. 8)

The ethical aspect of this confidence in the abundance of God's giving is evident, pointing to the core Christian sense of dependency of the Christian on God for all of his or her needs. The words of the Lord's Prayer are a constant reminder of this reality: "Give us this day our daily bread" (MT. 6:11). Ethically, the confidence that God will provide for each of us is liberating. As Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist put it, praying "that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life." (LK. 1:74-75). Confidence in the "abundance of the Lord" in store for us in this life and in the next does not lead to a disregard for material needs, but to an inner peace that the Provident God cares for us. And in that confidence stewardship giving carries with it no anxiety or hesitancy. It is part of the genuine freedom, or eleutheria, of the Christian's life.

Fr. Steven

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