We are in the midst of our yearly stewardship campaign at the church where I am an assistant. The troubled economic times are being reflected in the success of that drive. The unease and discomfort felt by so many because of these unsettled and loss-filled times is felt in church-land too. We try hard not to let it impact what we are called to do, but we are human and that is a very difficult thing to accomplish. It is natural to be concerned about budget, and possible cut-backs in services, mission and staff. If we have to cut, what is going to be cut?
Today's Gospel, I think, should be read during stewardship season every year. As difficult a task as it is, we are called to look at the bigger picture, we are called to see the path ahead and find a way to get there, no matter what. We are called to bring the kingdom to life, to strive for the kingdom, and we are promised that we will be taken care of. And when our wishes and desires aren't met, and those hard decisions need to be made, disillusionment is easy to grab ahold of, and say "See, I told you we couldn't do that." Perhaps that is where we lose the Gospel message. Perhaps our priorities, our collection of wealth and goods, our refusal to use that collected wealth, our self-absorption, is not the striving for the kingdom Jesus is proclaiming today. Perhaps what we are provided for at the end of the day is a realignment of our understanding of what it means to foster the kingdom's growth: hard decisions and hard feelings notwithstanding. Jesus never said this would be simple. Why do we think it should be?
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.