God gives us gifts every day and we too often act like those gifts will simply always be there. The truth is, unlike God Himself, many of those gifts are not eternal. If we fail to acknowledge them and put them to use, we risk losing them in the end.
The intentionality of our actions is important, but intentionality without action is meaningless. How we act and what we give serves as evidence of our intentions and indicates where our heart truly lies. We need to make sure our desires are moving us to act.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we certainly do not want to fake it, but we do need to look the part. The world looks at those of us who proclaim to be Christians to see if there is anything to this way of life. Can the world see the power of Christ in you?
What gifts or talents are needed for the task at hand? Where is God leading me? No one should have to decide the answers to these questions alone. We need to always lean on the Body of Christ to help us see the path that God has laid before us.
It is a natural tendency for human beings to desire belonging to something bigger than themselves. Communities are in many ways living organisms that move and breathe based upon the individuals who form that body. A community is truly the sum of its parts.
Like the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the secret to living happily ever after lies in not getting all you ever wanted, but instead in giving all you ever wanted away. When we have emptied ourselves and allowed Jesus to fill the open spaces in us, we become different.
We are not simply called to be active parishioners, but instead be active disciples all the time. What have we really done if we only act like disciples of Jesus Christ while we are assembled with others who claim to be the same? The choice before us is to give of ourselves.
Every day, we are called by Christ to respond in some way. The more practice we have at giving of ourselves freely and living in His presence, the easier it is to discern that call. Once we hear the call, the choice is ours: will we respond with yes or no?
Humans doubt. It’s what we do. Before any of us say anything about Peter’s doubting the words of Jesus that told him he could get out of his boat and walk on water, we need to get real with ourselves: How would I respond in the same situation?
You never know what will result when we give just a little of ourselves. That uncertainty too often leads us to hold back or refrain from simple actions of love or gestures of generosity. Generosity does not need to be grand to make a big difference.
What are you willing to give for the sake of the kingdom of God? Often, we begin a discussion like this with a story or a few leading thoughts. However, if we are to be serious about who we claim to be as Christians, there should be no beating around the bush.
A friend recently confided in me that although he prayed frequently each day and was involved heavily in his parish, he did not sense much fruit coming from it all and was left feeling unsatisfied. I assured him he was not alone. God is working through us and in us.