On September 12, 2001, the day after the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, thousands of people sought out Red Cross sites in the tri-state area, in order to donate blood. There were so many donors that it took five to six hours of waiting just to get into the buildings. But these people would not turn back. They needed to help. They needed to give of themselves. Their witness challenges each of us. When was the last time I experienced an overwhelming urgency to give? How am I spending my time, my money, and my own life for others?
There is an even larger truth behind the need to give. We are made by the God who is love. We are made to reflect that love. We are called to give everything to God and to spend ourselves to the point of foolishness as we serve one another. We are stewards over the immense fortune of God’s love. We are, according to the literal meaning of the word steward, called to keep watch over and to spend the gifts God has given us for the sake of his people. Being God’s stewards is about giving our whole lives, all we own, all we do, and every minute of our time.
Many parishes have realized that stewardship, without an underlying understanding of God’s tremendous love, is a burden. Requests for sharing time, talent, and treasure fall on deaf ears. We need to open our ears, our hearts, and our eyes. We need to surrender to God so that we can be moved to give. We need to evaluate our own God-given gifts and talents, in the light of the needs around us. Then we need to take concrete steps as faith-filled disciples and stewards.
Stop and focus on an example of love and giving that has inspired you. Then reflect on God’s love in the scriptures and in the stories of Jesus and his disciples. Think of the saints, living and dead, who reflect God’s love. Consider your own call to be a disciple, a reflection of God’s mercy, a compassionate steward ready to give away all that you have received from Jesus.