Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus said: “God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Two very important words describing what God does are “loved” and “gave.”
God loves each one of us with a love beyond imagination. God wants to share his life and love with each one of us so much that He sends Jesus, His son to become one of us. He sends Jesus so that we will not misunderstand how much He loves us. God’s love is not a concept, a thought. God’s love is a flesh and blood person, that He gave to us in time and history, who dies on the cross for our sins and then is raised to life after three days.
Why would God give Jesus to us in that way? Because He loves us and wants to share His life with us. We human beings can’t get that love on our own. We can only receive it from God who acts by sending His Son. God loves us so much that He acted — he gave His Son so that we could share His eternal life.
God has done His part: He loves us and gave His Son. His love was not a thought or a concept. How are we to love God in return? Is our love a thought that we have in our head before we go to bed? Is our love of God something we discuss with family or friends and then change the subject?
No, our love for God needs to be an act — it has to be something that we decide to do. God has loved us so much that everything we have, our abilities, the people in our lives—all is given to us. To love God in response, we need to give back to God some of what He has given to us. That is what it means to be a steward of all that God has given to us.
It means we love God by acting with what He has given to us. We use well what He has given. We decide to love God by using some of the gift of time for prayer, in service of those in need, by sharing what we have. Loving God who first loves us means that we become good stewards of all that He has given to us. It means that we return a portion of our time, talent and treasure to God as our act of love. Loving God in return cannot be just a thought. It has to be a decision to act, to use well what we have been given.
Loving God in return for His love so great that He sent His Son as one of us even to death, is the basis of Stewardship.
In future weeks, we will begin to see how that is lived out in the Pillars of Stewardship: Hospitality, Prayer, Faith Formation and Service.
God has so loved each one of us. May we decide to love Him in return as good stewards.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann