Stewardship explained

This post from Msgr. Pope explains the scriptural undergirding of a teaching that defines who we are as Christians. Some excerpts:

Part of the essence of sin is behaving as though we were the owner. We develop an arrogant attitude that what we have is ours to do with as we please: “It’s mine, I can do what I want with it.” “It’s my body I can do as I please with it.” But in fact, everything belongs to God.

Although many pay little heed to the fact of judgment, Scripture warns, Say not, “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” For the Lord bides his time. Of forgiveness be not over-confident, adding sin upon sin. Say not, “Great is his mercy, my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger are alike with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath. Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day. For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed (Sirach 5:4).

Many are dedicated to developing (worldly) skills, and becoming incredibly knowledgeable. In earning money and holding down a job, many display great discipline: getting up early to go to work, working late, going the extra mile to please the boss.

But when it comes to faith many of these same people display only a rudimentary knowledge of things spiritual and show little interest in advancing in the faith or in praying. They will expend effort to please the boss, to please man, but not to please God. Parents will fight for scholarships for their children to get into the “best” schools. But when it comes to saving truth, the pews are empty and Sunday School is poorly attended.

You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead. Scripture elaborates on this elsewhere: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Tim 6:17). Notice that the passage says that through their generosity in this world, the rich store up treasure for themselves in Heaven.

This is the scriptural principle and the great paradox in the Kingdom of God: that we keep something for eternity only by giving it away. We save our life by losing it. We keep our treasure and store it in heaven by giving it away.

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