Stewardship at OLA
Love God, Love Neighbor
Dear Friends in Christ,
Stewardship is the response of grateful disciples who recognize and receive God’s gifts, and share these gifts in love of God and neighbor. During our Stewardship Renewal Season, we ask our parishioners to make a written commitment in November to support the mission and ministries of OLA with their time, talents and treasure in 2021.
Sometimes it is good for us to get back to basics. At home, we might set aside time for dinner and conversation rather than family members rushing off to separate activities. In our lives of faith, Jesus says we are called to two foundational actions: love God, love neighbor.
Love God, love our neighbor. It sounds so simple. And yet, we know that it is anything but simple. Loving God and neighbor requires commitment. Loving God requires us to place our trust in One who cannot be seen and yet knows us better than we know ourselves. Loving God calls us to order our lives in relationship to God and God’s ways, the way of self-giving love. When our heart is centered on God, we will see ourselves as uniquely created, God’s very own. When we love God with all our soul, we find peace in the midst of turmoil. When our mind is focused through faith, we seek what is good, right, and just before all things.
Loving our neighbor is the way in which we show our love for God. When we love God with our whole being, we understand that our neighbor is a child of God, one who is God’s prized possession, just as each of us is. The truth is that every person is created out of love, for love. As Christ himself taught us, whatever we do for the least among us, we do for him. Loving our neighbor is, after all, our greatest act of faith, of discipleship, and of stewardship.
TAKE THE CALL TO HEART.
What would our lives look like if we really took to heart the two intertwined commandments that Jesus places before us? Would we re-order our days in order to spend time with God in prayer? Would we become more attentive to the needs of others? Might we recognize our talents as gifts from God, and more readily give the gifts back, with increase, at home, in our parish, and the world? Would we consider that the way we spend time, money and attention are signs of our priorities?
Most of us have thought about these things many times in the past, and have done little to change our routines, behaviors or habits. The gospel passage s we hear this month challenge us to not be passive recipients of God’s gracious love. Perhaps in this most different and challenging year, we will take Jesus’ two great commandments more fully to heart, and act accordingly: love God, love neighbor.
What is Stewardship?
A life-long journey that brings us closer to Jesus Christ,
following the path he laid out for us through his example of self-giving
Understanding that everything we have is a gift from God
of which we are absolutely the best caretakers (stewards)
Having the heart to give back out of love a portion of
every gift that has been entrusted to us by God
Living our life with the understanding that someday God
will ask each one of us what we did with his varied gifts
A way of life with rewards that last an eternity
Good stewardship begins with our loving God. Everything that we have is a gift from God – our life and natural talents, our family and relationships, our health and energy, our emotions and ability to reason, our material goods. God has provided abundantly for all our needs. Jesus said: “I came that they might have life, and have it to the fullest” (John 10:10).
We are good stewards when we praise and thank the Lord for the many gifts we have been given. “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’ that would be enough” is a famous insight of Meister Eckhart (1260-1327). What a blessing it is when a gift is received in gratitude and used to the fullest! And the best way to show our gratitude is to cultivate those gifts and celebrate the best in us.
Scripture encourages us to trust in God’s providence and be assured that our own needs will be met if we are generous. In fact, we have been promised blessings of every kind – the “hundredfold” of the Gospel. We are taught to share our gifts with others as we live out the mission of Jesus in true discipleship. Together, as a community of faith, we collaborate with God in bringing about the Kingdom of hope and love, peace and justice, comfort and joy.