Gifts from God?

Gifts from God inevitably bring challenges. Can that be right??  If so, are His gifts really gifts or traps?

In the account (not parable) of Lazarus and the rich man, Abraham reminds the rich man, “… in your lifetime you received your good things” (Luke 16:25). Notice the expression “your lifetime”?  The rich man collapsed his life and lifetime into the overindulgence of his appetites, even the wicked appetite of contempt for others, especially the needy.

The rich man’s story is our story too, inasmuch as we have the same corruption of Adam in us and if we dare to take the log out of our own eye, each of us will know when we are being wickedly selfish.

But there is more to the story.  We have a soul regenerated by the Word of God, confirmed in the sacraments, and inspired by His Spirit. With the mind and Spirit of Christ, we are faithful ambassadors of all we are and have—all these as gifts from God.

Thus, every gift of God to us is an occasion for the corruption in us to assert itself—to be possessive, selfish, greedy, and materialistic. But the mind of Christ in us is alert and watchful, turning us in repentance (a change of heart, mind, and care) so we recognize every gift as an opportunity to practice and enjoy faithful stewardship.

The life of Jesus is a record of the infinitely faithful steward who spent all He had on our redemption, then rose from the dead victoriously. The Word and Spirit of Christ in us inspires the same stewardship in us. Every time we are given something (time, money, opportunity, care, love) we can be alert and grateful, rather than greedy. Rather than clutching greedily like a drowning person, we can see and use what is given to us as a stewardship. We are caretakers on behalf of God in a world that so desperately needs care and we belong to His kingdom, which provides inexhaustible gifts. 

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