STEWARDSHIP | Right here, right now

Time is one of those gifts most of us take for granted. We don't give a second thought that we may not be here tomorrow. This, in turn, leads to many excuses for not starting something today and waiting for "tomorrow" before we begin. Each of us at some point in our lives has said some version of "I'll wait until I have all my ducks in a row before I start."

Matthew Kelly stated:"Time is a precious gift. It is so precious that God dispenses it to you one second at a time. Do not waste time."

Look at your calendar. How do you treat your gift of time? Are you self-indulgent with your time? Do you waste it away with mindless inactivity or do you go to the other extreme and clutter it with too much activity? Do you leave time for God in your daily schedule? Do you ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance throughout the day?

Remember what the Gospel of Matthew warns: "Therefore stay awake! For you do not know on which day the Lord will come." This is our call to stay ready and to be vigilant; to use our time wisely and in a way that brings ourselves and others closer to God.

The U.S. bishops' pastoral letter from 1992, "Stewardship: A Disciple's Response," states "Jesus' call is urgent. He does not tell people to follow Him at some point in time in the future, but here and now — at this moment, in these circumstances." This applies to all of us, regardless of age, gender, race or economic status. We're being called today.

God asks that we, as good stewards, return in gratitude the "first fruits" of our time to Him. This is called prayer. We should be absolutely grateful (and in awe) that our Creator wants to spend quality time with us, both as a community and with each of us individually, each and every day.

In our prayer time, we should pay attention and discern Jesus' voice from the other voices that may be vying for our attention. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in discerning Jesus' voice so that we can determine how God is calling us to use our gifts to build His kingdom on earth, right here and right now. "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

We are all blessed, regardless of our individual circumstances. God has given us many gifts. How we use those gifts is our gift back to God. So, don't delay any further. Talk and listen to God right now. How is He calling you to use your gifts at this very moment?

Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at Mary, Mother of the Church in south St. Louis County. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or davidbaranowski@archstl.org. 

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