Sunday, September 18, 2022

What to do with your stuff (Sunday homily)

 The parable Jesus told is confusing in some ways. 

But here's the key point: 

Jesus is telling us to have the right approach 

to money, and stuff, and material success.

Let's compare the worldly way with God's way:

The worldly way is to use people to gain success and money;

God's way is to use money and position to gain people – 

that is, for the Kingdom.

One of the principles our Church teaches 

in the category of social justice 

is "the universal destination of goods." 

What does that mean?

It means that while we may own this or that thing, ultimately, everything belongs to God; 

and God gave everything in Creation for all his children to enjoy.

Think of a family. Dad passes out slices of pizza to everyone. 

He intends everyone to get some. 

What happens when Dad looks up and sees one child has three slices, and two have none?

God doesn't intervene the way my father, or yours, would. 

But he sees, and he will hold us accountable.

Now, the point is not socialism, 

because that just lets someone in government play god, 

and they make a mess of it. 

Rather, the point is that you and I help 

every one of God's children get a fair chance. 

My pizza analogy can be misunderstood, 

because while on any given day, 

there is only going to be a specific amount of pizza on the table;

but it isn’t that simple with the resources God has given us.

Many people mistakenly argue that our world is resource-poor,

and that we have too many people. 

First, it is simply not true that we are lacking in resources.

This is a good and abundant world. 

It is a worldly thing to say, there are too many people.

God never says that.

Remember the large, hungry crowds following Jesus?

The disciples voiced the worldly mindset when they said, 

“send them away.”

Second, that “too many people” mentality fails to grasp 

that people, themselves, are the greatest resource of all. 

It took human ingenuity to turn mold – that grows on cheese – 

into a revolutionary life-saving medicine: penicillin.

God desires that you and I use the intellect he gave us

to continue making the best use of our good and abundant earth, 

for the sake of human well-being. 

Let's get back to how we approach our stuff and our plans.

It is good to be a go-getter; and to seek financial security.

But the key question we might ask is...

What is it all for?

What will I do with my success, and whatever stuff I acquire?

Jesus praised the dishonest steward for being prudent.

He used stuff to gain people.

And Jesus’ point is not to favor dishonesty, but to say, 

Shouldn’t you and I, as children of light,

Do the same thing: to use our stuff to gain people for the Kingdom?

If you have a house, you can welcome people.

If you have a car, you can give rides.

And whatever you have – money, stuff, talent, or time –

you can give it away.

Of course, the most important “thing” to give away is…yourself.

You and I can do a lot of good with stuff; but it is giving ourselves, 

creating relationships, that makes the most difference.

We talk a lot about “stewardship,” but that’s all it really is.

If we reach heaven, you and I won't see any of our possessions there. 

What we will see is people. And won't it be wonderful 

to see all the people we helped get there, with our stuff?

1 comment:

rcg said...

Once I got it through my head that it’s not MY stuff then I figured how to treat it. I am employed by the Lord to take care of his business in this world, investing in his people and activities on His behalf. What is the best use of His resources? Who gets more resources based on their productivity? Who needs extra help without decreasing the productivity that creates that charity? It seems that the more productive I am for My Boss (aka Our Lord) the nicer tools and office I get.