By LAURIE EVANS-DINNEEN
Many scriptural accounts recall those who heard God’s call, stopped what they were doing and listened – some more quickly than others. These men and women accepted the call to be a steward of God’s plan. Moses, who could have lived comfortably, obeyed God’s call. Matthew the tax collector listened when Jesus said, “Come, follow me.” The Virgin Mary met the Angel Gabriel in her own home and learned that she would bear the Son of Man. There are many times when regular men and women are called upon by God to bring forth his plan, to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives to bring out the best in them and the world around them.
In today’s world, we are busy. Somehow, we have misplaced the spirituality of stewardship. Can you picture Mary today? After she heard the angel’s proclamation, she’d think about all she had to do. And how would she fit in a child? And all that leadership stuff? The fretting, the pondering? But Mary did hear the call and stepped up to follow because she had God at the center of her life.
On Oct. 5 the Anchorage Archdiocese hosted its quarterly pastoral day for the local clergy, religious and archdiocesan and parish staff. The discussion was titled, “Be Not Afraid: Making a Gift of Self.” Archbishop Paul Etienne opened the day and spoke of putting God at the center of all things. The spirituality of stewardship is rooted in our own our encounter with Christ. Our joy is rooted in a spirituality of abundance rather than a spirituality of scarcity. “In short, the Christian is called to live as Christ — to make a complete and generous gift of self.”
Deacon David Krueger from Catholic Stewardship Consultants came to Anchorage as the guest speaker at the pastoral day. He reiterated this message, suggesting that we ask God what he wants us to do – and then do it. Stewardship is not a program or a ministry fair or a fundraiser, he said, but a way of life. Leave room for the Holy Spirit to be at work in our lives, and surely we will feel his presence and follow. “Jesus calls, Jesus leads, and we follow – serve – assist,” he said.
Deacon Krueger spoke of the meaning of time in the context of stewardship. Time, he said, is your time spent with God, your time spent in prayer with the Lord, time spent with your family. Being a steward, he said, is being a follower of Christ — stewards are always doing and caring as an expression of Christ.
I am humbled to recognize God at work in my own life, be it ever so small. When I am busy and overwhelmed with life, God will sometimes use me as an answer to my own or someone else’s prayer. Being the answer to someone’s prayer is a powerful gift. It is realized in hearing God’s call and following where he leads.