Prayer and the call to Stewardship: Prayer and Care for the World
If you look at anything the Catholic Church has written about stewardship in the past few years it will begin with a fundamental thought about our identity: You and I are disciples of Jesus Christ. This means that, ideally, we see the world a little differently. We ultimately see ourselves as people that have a particular calling to serve God and the world he gave us to live in. We are created not to have a job but to work. Although we often use these words to communicate the same thing, I think there is a difference.
In the Catholic Church I have a “job” if you will and that is to be the Pastor of St. Monica. However my “work” is rooted in the relationship I have with Christ as His disciple. Praying every day and caring for the world and the people in it, is the work I always have. It is entirely possible that I might lose or change jobs but I am still called to the work of the Gospel. Whether I am Pastor, Associate Pastor, Hospital Chaplain, or Head Chef at the Soup Kitchen the work remains the same: to Glorify God by caring for the world he gave me to live in and help others to have what they need to do the same.
I think this is a great principle of Stewardship that helps keep everything in perspective. In a world that places so much value on money, power and status, it is helpful to know that these things don’t define us. If you are unemployed God still loves you and your work remains the same. Of course God wants you to be able to have a job and pay the bills, but the job is not who you are; you are His disciple and He needs you to pray and care for the world he gave to you!
Let’s end by seeing the difference this perspective could make. It would be difficult to deny that our world is pretty troubled. We live under the constant threat of war, violence, terrorism, and it starts to feel more dangerous every day. Imagine a world in which this could be changed: Every person saw the world as a place that was given to them by God, every person was trying to make sure everyone around them had what they needed, that money and power was not important but care for the world and the people in it was.
If we lived this way, the world would be the place most of us want it to be. That world, which is the Kingdom of God, begins with us living as prayerful stewards of God’s creation.