“Go and make disciples of all nations.” Mt 28:19
With these words, Jesus gave us stewardship of his Church. In baptism, we embraced this responsibility. (We can’t turn away and say this mission is someone else’s concern).
But, what does it mean to make disciples, and how do we do it?
We begin by recognizing that we are not creators, nor are we passive recipients of God’s providence. We are made in the image and likeness of our creator – which means we’re creative. We can do nothing, however, without materials, abilities, and opportunities, so God has entrusted plenty of these to each of us. We created none of these materials, abilities, or opportunities ourselves. It ALL belongs to God. He invites us to be co-creators with him, and he gives each of us stewardship over some of his work.
First and foremost, each of us has been given a body and soul that is unique and irreplaceable. Each of us is entrusted with certain abilities that are needed in the circumstances in which God has situated us. It is our mission to develop our abilities and use them in love and service of God and the common good. This sacred trust is not to be taken lightly. Without God, we are and can do – nothing. With God, all things are possible.
If we work closely with God, stewarding well all that has been entrusted to us, we will grow into disciples, welcome others into discipleship, and build the kingdom of God. That’s the promise – and the purpose of stewardship.
Brothers and sisters, we are stewards of God’s kingdom. If we ever entertain the notion that we are owners, creators, or masters, we are deluding ourselves. Show me one thing that you created without using the abilities, materials, and opportunities that God gave you. Show me one thing that cannot be taken away from you. Show me one thing over which you are omnipotent. Can’t do it, can you? That’s because you’re not God. You’re his steward. Humble acceptance of this fact is the beginning of wisdom and of authentic human fulfillment.
Once we accept and embrace this reality and are free of delusions to the contrary, we are in a position to be co-creators with God who has a foolproof, divine blueprint for everlasting joy and treats his stewards as his own children.
When you achieve this freedom from possession, take inventory of all that God has entrusted to you. It will take you a long time to do this; he has put much into your care. Then begin, through prayer, to discern what you can do for God and the common good with what you have. Pray with and for your fellow stewards (that’s everyone), treat them as you wish to be treated, help them see the bigger picture, welcome them as they embrace the mission, serve together, grow together, and celebrate God’s goodness in community. Above all, remember that the kingdom that we build for God is the kingdom in which we ourselves will reside because God is good.