We close our second year of guided reflections with a more detailed exploration into our role as prudent stewards of God’s bounty. Christian stewardship begins with the understanding that everything is a gift from God shared with us freely and lovingly. We are called to serve as caretakers–not owners–of God’s creation. Full participation as a disciple of Christ necessitates that we give back a small percentage of the time, talent, and treasure that we are awarded in thanksgiving to Our Creator.
This month, we concentrate on the stewardship of time. We can’t stop it, we can’t store it, we can’t touch it, and we can’t change it. In gratitude for all of time that God freely gives to us, for each of our earthly lives, and for the promise of eternal salvation, we dedicate a portion of our time to God through prayer, sacred studies, and execution of His good works.
Our first Gospel reading in September (Matthew 25:1-13) uses the Parable of the Ten Virgins to teach us some important truths regarding this topic. The virgins demonstrate that we are individually accountable for our actions and how we allocate our time. If we squander our resources, other people cannot save us.
Our burning lamps reveal the fire that ignites our love for Christ. That love fuels us to follow his path and to radiate his light for the benefit of others. The pure oil that keeps our lamps ablaze cannot be bought or sold; it cannot be transferred from one individual to another. It represents the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We can embrace that initial spark, fan our faith, and live righteously. Or, we can ignore our Christian gifts and extinguish our lamps.
We each need to spend time to develop our personal relationship with Jesus, to allow that love to burn within our hearts, and to be so moved by that love that we lead a pious life, obey the Lord, contribute to his redemptive works, and love one another. Through virtuous living, we produce that sacred oil. Only then do our lamps light the way toward our salvation.
Good stewardship of our time is a lifestyle, because we “know neither the day nor the hour.” Every day throughout our lives, we are given 24 hours to use at our discretion. Proper planning helps us to spend that time wisely. Every day, therefore, we must plan to prioritize our time with Jesus, lest he reply to us, “I do not know you.”
When things take longer than anticipated, it is easy to become distracted. The wise virgins illustrate the value of staying focused on our goal. If we lose sight of what is important, fail to plan properly, neglect our Christian responsibilities, or succumb to sin, turning away from our shortcomings takes us further away from God. Had the foolish virgins remained with the others, they could beg for God’s mercy and rely on the light of Christ to guide their way. Instead, they miss their moment of opportunity.
Our “Weekly Challenge” section this month highlights some of the ways to seize our opportunities through the stewardship of time. Be sure to post your insights regarding this precious and fleeting gift from God by leaving a reply. For review, please refer to our previous entries: