The Divine Mystery exists in each of us. We are Stewards of that Mystery.
Years ago while living in Vermont, I had just taken over the diocesan bike trip, similar to the trip I continue to offer each summer. I was new to cycling, and the adults who joined us had been regulars for years. One man — a crusty, learned, high school history teacher — had a saying that he delivered at the bottom of every mountain climb. “Smoke ’em if you got ’em,” he would say, wryly.
It refers, of course, to what an officer would say to troops before they went into battle in WWII: smoke your cigarettes now while you have the chance. Considering the context in which he was using it, I always found the irony of that statement worth at a smile.
If you can forget for a moment the literal meaning of that phrase, it makes a good stewardship statement: Use What Ya Got. Now.
That’s a simple, folksy way to think of the entire idea of Stewardship: Use What Ya Got. Now. The Mystery of God dwells within each of us. It is God’s gift to everyone, as much a part of us as our arms and legs. God has given us the freedom to use that gift as we choose. Choose wisely, and choose now.
Most folks who go to church with any regularity hear statements like the one above and decide that faithful stewardship means we should use our gifts to serve on a parish committee or do something important inside the building. That is certainly one good use. Faithful stewardship can also look very different than that.
I’m thinking now of a man who was almost exclusively a Christmas and Easter attender. I’ll call him George (not his real name). Many Sundays, George would be at work downtown in Chicago by 7am. One of his friends told me of a meeting they had scheduled for that time. His friend had gotten to the office early and had seen George pull up and park. He watched as George went into the doughnut shop, bought a dozen doughnuts, and then handed them out to people living on the street. Carefully folding up the box, he placed it in the trash can. He walked up to his meeting and never mentioned a word. The practiced way he performed the operation convinced his friend that it was not the first time this had taken place.
Faithful Stewardship, and Worship, come in as many forms as there are ideas. So does holiness.
Questions for the day
What, in God’s Name, am I doing with ‘what I got’? How do I pay attention to the presence of God in me?