Keep your eyes open!...

Stewardship of Time and Talent

Steward: One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.

In examining the idea of stewardship it is helpful to first develop a mental picture of just exactly what a "steward" is supposed to do. You may be familiar with a wine steward from your visits to restaurants. He is the gentleman often seen with a small cup hanging around his neck. The job of a wine steward is to store, maintain, and to pour wine. His job is to know where each bottle of wine is, make it available for the patrons of the restaurant, and assist in serving it.

How does this relate to our Christian life and specifically what does it mean to be a steward of time and talent? Like the wine steward we are responsible to store, maintain, and "pour out" the talents and time that God has provided for us.

This in fact, brings up a very basic but very fundamental misconception in our modern world. If your child began talking to you about HIS house, or HIS car, or HIS pool, or HIS refrigerator, you might just be motivated to have a short talk with him. You might point out that he has never made a house or car payment, or himself purchased any of the food in the refrigerator.

Yet we, as God's children, make the same mistake. We refer to spending or wasting "OUR" time or "OUR" efforts. But is it really "OURS" in the first place? Reach up for a moment, and place your hands over your heart. Can you feel your heart beating? Do you realize that even though you weren't aware of it your heart beat almost five thousand times in the past hour? Do you have ANY control over that heartbeat? How then, can we proudly refer to "OUR" time when only God has absolute control over it?

As stewards of God's time and the talents He has provided we are responsible to use the unique gifts He has given us for His ultimate glory.

But how? How are we to know how we can best use our talents?

How many people have, at one time or another during the course of their life received, a "perfect" gift from their spouse or a loved one? How did they know what to get? What is the chance that anyone without a deep personal knowledge of you would have gotten you the same gift? Even someone with a great deal more money would not have been able to do it. Why? Because your loved one knows you and your needs better than anybody else.

In order to best develop our stewardship of our talents we need to employ our time to develop this kind of intimate relationship with God. In order to get to know God we must pray. We have to give Him time to reveal Himself to us and to reveal His plan for each one of us as individuals.

(Exo 20:2) "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me".

The "other gods" referred to in this, the first commandment, include money, social standing, success, or even individuals that come between us and God. God must come first in our lives and our commitment to daily prayer demonstrates the extent of our devotion to Him.

Saint Paul tells us:

(Eph 6:18) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

(1 Th 5:17) Pray without ceasing.

St. Alphonsus once said: "Some are unable to fast or give alms, but there are none who cannot pray".

Mother Theresa when asked about the path to holiness replied: "Pray for one hour per day and don't do anything you know to be wrong".

What is the message of Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadelupe? Pray! Pray! Pray!

But, you might ask, with all the demands on our time in modern society where do we find time to pray?

A very successful executive was once heard to give this response to that exact question: "I don't have time NOT to pray. Without prayer, he had found that he simply didn't have enough hours in the day to accomplish all that he needed to do. When he began to pray regularly, he was amazed that the demands of time actually diminished! Somehow phone calls were answered more promptly, appointments went more smoothly and his prayerful recollection of God throughout his daily activities kept him at peace even when things did go wrong.

Once we have developed a more intimate relationship with God through prayer we will be led to an understanding of how He wants us to use our particular talents for His kingdom. The prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah in the Bible compare God to a potter and man to clay. And make no mistake, each of us has a carefully crafted collection of special talents. These talents were given to us by God for this specific time. Your talents would not have served God as well had you been born two hundred or two thousand years ago. No, you were born in this era because this is the time when your unique mixture of talents will be of greatest good for God's eternal kingdom. And nobody can provide exactly what you provide. God did not make two Mother Teresas, or two Pope John Paul IIs or two of you. And this, as an aside, is why abortion is the great tragedy of our day: millions of individuals with unique talents have been refused their right to be born and exercise their own special talents for God's kingdom.

God will not force you to use your talents on His behalf. You were not created to be a robot without freedom of choice. It is up to you to decide whether you will use or misuse the talents you were graciously given. A quick look at the newspaper would be enough to provide many examples of prominent individuals misusing their God-given talents. Perhaps another analogy would be helpful here. We can all remember the little boy who brought his basketball to the park but left and took his ball with him when all was not to his liking. Similarly, we all bring our unique mixture of talents into God's ballgame. We can elect to stay and play or we can take our ball and go home. If we leave, God will raise someone else to take our place. Perhaps that person's basketball won't have the perfect bounce, or the perfect feel but the game would go on. The difference would be that you simply wouldn't play. And even worse, you might miss the post-game celebration. And it promises to be quite a party!

In conclusion, a story is told about four men on a small fishing boat in the middle of a large lake. Suddenly, towards the front of the boat a large hole appears in the hull. The two men in the front of the boat each grab a bucket and feverishly start bailing out water. In the hot sun they become increasingly more exhausted as they try to keep the boat afloat. Meanwhile, in the back of the boat, the other two men are simply watching. One of them leans over to the other and says: "Sure am glad the hole is on the other end of the boat"!

Each of us needs to re-examine our lives and decide whether we are acting like the two men in the front of the boat or more like the two in the back of the boat. What I am here to tell you today is that the right thing for each of us to do, the thing we are each called by God to do, is to GRAB A BUCKET!!

Stewardship of Treasure

Links  E-mail Dr. Zambrano  Home