When it comes to the financial gifts we have received from God, we must decide how and when we will use them. Yep, I mentioned ‘when’ in this sentence. Often we talk about the ‘how’ we will use the gifts, but the ‘when’ is just as critical. Commercials are in abundance with advice from lots of firms that want to manage our money to reach the magic retirement goal, and then after you retire, on making sure you have enough money to support your remaining years. In the end, it’s all about stockpiling more and more cash, because, gosh, we just don’t know what will happen and we got to be sure we have ‘enough’.
This is where trusting God comes into play. God has told us He will never be outdone in generosity. Again, Jesus tells us He takes care of the birds of the air, how much more will He take care of us whom He greatly loves. So could we spend everything now and trust God will provide later for us? Jesus also tells us to be good stewards of our money in the parables of the servants. They were given talents to manage when their master went away. Two of them managed well and were awarded with more talents. The third buried the money, gave it back with no interest, and was chastised for being lazy.
On the surface, these stories and promises almost seem opposed. On the one hand, we will be taken care of. On the other hand, we are expected to manage the money. Looking a little deeper at these, the message maybe is focused on prudence. God is a generous giver and He trusts us greatly, so He provides us with our needs. However, He also expects us to be good stewards and manage these gifts well. This is why the virtue of prudence is so important.
Prudence is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is the knowledge about actions to take and those not to take. It includes three stages: counsel from yourself and others, judge well, and direct your activities accordingly. Each of us have unique circumstances that impacts how we are to manage God’s financial gifts. Good planning requires us to think through those circumstances, be prudent in our behaviors, trust God is watching over us, and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Prudence is the virtue that can show us how much to save for future needs, and how much to spend for current needs of ourselves and others who are in need. Prudence can help us create a plan, then our job is to stick to it, making adjustments as necessary.
Trusting God is important. Planning is important. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to shower His virtue of prudence upon us to guide our thinking of knowing ‘when’ to use God’s financial gifts for the greatest use to further His kingdom on Earth.
Facilitator for Set Your House In Order
St. Catherine of Siena Parish
Catholic Diocese of Wichita