Lent’s Almost Over!

The 40 days of Lent are quickly drawing to a close.

Hopefully during this time, we have been deepening our relationship with the Lord through prayer, fasting and almsgiving and discerning where God is leading us.

If your Lenten practices haven’t measured up to your good intentions on Ash Wednesday, it is not too late to use these last two weeks to improve. And one of the ways to improve is to make an effort to be a good steward.
Everything we have comes from God and so many times we know that in our minds but it has not reached our hearts nor our actions. Think about the direction that our Lord is leading you, does it include how you handle your finances, how you handle the 24 hours of the day that we each have, how you use your God given talents?
Are you a steward of these blessings or are you just a consumer, a user, of these blessings?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has many beautiful sections related to our call to be good stewards.
In God’s plan man and woman have the vocation of “subduing” the earth as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator “who loves everything that exists,” to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them. (CCC 373)

God has entrusted his world to us and as stewards, we have an obligation to be good stewards in ALL things, including how we handle our money and possessions. Everything we have is on loan to us and really belongs to God. This view of our call to stewardship is contrary to how the world influences us.

Let’s face it. We live in a world defined by commercials. Advertisers tell us that we should get everything we want, when we want it, because we deserve it (and because they want us to buy it!). Most advertising is aimed at making us feel inadequate if we don’t buy what they are selling. Our culture barrages us with almost non-stop advertising—it’s everywhere. We even pay higher prices for clothes that have advertising messages on them.

Many commercials don’t even give us the specifics on the product they want us to buy. How many car commercials have you seen that talk about safe, reliable, cost effective transportation? Instead they show a couple kissing passionately in the rain with the car in the background or a bunch of friends singing while they lounge in a comfortable back seat.

The most popular television shows are reality shows that allow us to put ourselves in the place of the contestants as they vie for big money and exotic trips.

If we could only own this or that, have more money, vacation there, or drive that car then we would finally be happy. But no matter how much money we have or how much we buy, we’ll never get the fulfillment that can only come from God.

The problem is our attitude when worldly things become more important to us than God. Society tells us that only things fulfill us and bring us true happiness. When we believe this, we forsake God for our material gods.
Our attitude toward money and possessions can be the lever to our hearts. Money can be what draws us closer to God or what drives us to put up a wall between God and ourselves. Using money wisely and with the right attitude will bring us many blessings. When we give, save and spend in a manner pleasing to God we can grow closer to him. If we are unfaithful with money and possessions, our relationship with him will suffer.

The bottom line is that It’s not about the money…it’s about the change…the change of your heart when you learn to follow Jesus’ example. He was the perfect steward.

Jesus spent forty days and nights in the desert before beginning his ministry. During this time, he was tempted by the devil with food, with all the kingdoms of the world and with throwing himself off the temple wall to have the angels save him.

But Jesus would not be tempted because he knew his mission was from the father and all these temptations would take him off mission. His whole life points back to the Father. And our lives should always point back to the Father. Jesus is calling us to be stewards of the blessings God has for each and every one of us. We are to be stewards of all he has given to us and everything entrusted to our care.

Our stewardship must point back to the Father, just as Jesus did. Paragraph 912 from the Catechism states:

The faithful should “distinguish carefully between the rights and the duties which they have as belonging to the Church and those which fall to them as members of the human society. They will strive to unite the two harmoniously, remembering that in every temporal affair they are to be guided by a Christian conscience, since no human activity, even of the temporal order, can be withdrawn from God’s dominion.”

Our life is a constant balancing act between our secular culture and our faith.

Take time to contemplate the many ways Jesus was the perfect steward and consider ways you can be a better steward by asking yourself the following questions:

How do you balance the demands of the secular world against your faith life?

What is your biggest challenge in living a personal stewardship lifestyle?

How do you recognize God’s ownership?

How do you practice the virtue of contentment in our secular world?

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