"How amazing our God is!! Can you catch a glimpse with me of the vastness of His power and might?? He created ALL things - seen and unseen!!
Not coincidentally the first verse of the Bible also proclaims God as creator:
(Gen 1:1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
So the opening sentence in both the Creed and the Bible both refer to the same important truth- that everything in heaven and earth is God's property. As creator, God is the sole owner of everything that ever is, was, or will be. It all belongs to him. There is nothing that does not belong to God. God in His love and generosity allows us to benefit from and share in His created things. But the ownership is clearly His.
In God's own words, through the prophet Haggai:
(Hag 2:8 ) 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty.
Let us briefly reflect upon how God expects us to take care of His belongings. We will be reflecting and meditating upon what it means to be good stewards of God's treasure.
If you had a pen once owned by George Washington, wouldn't you treat it in a special way? Perhaps you would use it only to sign very important documents such as your marriage licence or your child's birth certificate. What we must learn to recognize is that the old bic pin in our shirt pocket belongs to one much greater than George Washington. Like everything else we possess its true owner is the Lord. And since all things belong to God everything we own needs to be used with reverence and respect.
How does this affect the way you would use the TV set God gave you? What sort of programs should you watch?
Your Blockbuster card?
Because God is the actual owner of each of these items, and because He graciously allows us to use them, the items should be used in a manner that is reverent, moral and to God's glory. And importantly, without clinging or attachment. We shouldn't get attached to any of our material blessings simply because they are not ours. They are His.
The idea behind our weekly offering is that in offering money back to God we are acknowledging that the money is His in the first place. We are offering back to Him what is really His. We donate the fruits of our time and talent so that the money can be used by the Church to further God's plans and spread the Gospel. And we should do so with the blind faith that our all-powerful God will insure that our offerings will be applied according to His purposes.
Because it is His wealth and not ours we must be certain that we are not in fact "robbing God" of what He is due. Once the decision is made to use our envelopes for regular donations, the obvious question is "how much should I contribute" ? The answer to this question can best be found in the Scriptures. In Luke chapter 21 the following story is related:
(Luke 21:1-4) As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
It appears that God measures our giving not on the amount of the gift but on what we have left after giving it. The point of this story is not that we have to contribute every penny that we own but that our giving should be sacrificial. Additional sacrifice on our parts now will bring dividends untold in our futures.
Forget the stock markets! Forget what interest you have built up on your monies and start looking to the building up of the true security, the spiritual interest that pays the highest dividends and never exhausts itself or fluctuates. It is permanent! It is REAL and it is yours for the taking! No one can take it from you when you have made your investments, your deposits in our Heavenly bank. Our Heavenly stock can only go up, until we, the investors, have reached the goal we wish: perfect joy and happiness with God for all Eternity. Start to worry about your souls' accounts, not your material accounts, because soon the Father will ask you to account for what you have placed in your souls, not what you have in your bank accounts. Yes, your material finances are important, as any good steward would know. How much more important are your spiritual finances? To be a good steward of both your spiritual and your material acquisitions, prudence must play an important part. You must determine first your priorities! What is most important? Then you should, if you are a wise steward, act accordingly.
Many people spend countless hours worrying and preparing for an IRS audit that may or may not ever even occur. Each of us will one day be called to judgement before Our Lord. Surely our time would be much better employed preparing for this meeting with the Lord, an encounter that will certainly occur and whose consequences are of infinite importance. Through a life lived in God-centered stewardship and prayer we may hope to hear Jesus' words of Mathew chapter 25:
(Mat 25:23 ) ...'Well done, good and faithful
servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge
of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
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