Forgive

We hear in the Gospel of Luke (5:17-26) the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man. The friends of this man were bringing him to Jesus, but were unable bring him close to the Lord because of the size of the crowd, so they removed part of the roofing above where Jesus sat, and lowered the stretcher holding their friend into the midst of Jesus. The opportunity becomes one where Jesus teaches us and all who were present that he has power, not only over the physical world, but the spiritual as well. He forgives the man of his sins (which those present cannot see), and then, to demonstrate the power of his word, heals the man of his paralysis (something that those present could visually witness).

Forgiveness is very powerful! Only God can completely forgive sins, but we also somehow participate in the forgiving capacity in our world. We are called to forgive others, as Jesus forgives us. God has given us a great gift, one that we are to give away and share with others. That’s one of the beautiful things about the gifts from God; they are multiplied when given away. The paralytic in this Gospel story had some incredible friends, people who were willing to use what God had given them to make healing possible for their friend. And then God, in his infinite love and mercy, bestowed on the man an even greater gift, forgiveness of his sins, opening the doors of Heaven and eternal life.

Lord, help me to share my gifts with others, that the gifts you’ve given me may be used for good, and bring you glory. You have also offered me the gift of forgiveness. Give me the strength and courage to share it with others and fully live out the words of the prayer you gave your Church: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Let my forgiveness of others be magnified according to your will. Amen.

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Steward of My Life

We live in an age that is overflowing with material goods and wealth. Compared to generations past, we have the greatest technology, health care, information, food, life expectancy, and quality of life based on so many different factors. Everything we have in our world, and even our very lives, however, are not because of us, but are for us. We didn’t give birth to ourselves and our world; we received them as an inheritance from those who preceded us and from God.

“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be.” (NAB, RV 4:11) What will we do with the wonderful gifts we’ve received? What will the next generation receive from us? How will we utilize our God-given talents and gifts to make the world a better place and to bring about God’s Kingdom?

Stewardship far too often focuses on finances and how we manage the money in our lives, particularly related to tithing and charitable donations. But stewardship is about managing ALL that we possess, all that has been given us, most especially our talents and gifts. We are responsible for investing the necessary time, energy, and commitment to develop our skills and talents for the betterment of others and the common good in our community and society. We are the only ones who are held accountable for this responsibility. Our gifts are meant to be shared, and this is precisely how they are multiplied through our love and the love of others. Jesus reminds us that, “to everyone that has, more will be given.” (LK 19:26)

Lord, help me to recognize my gifts and talents, and give me the courage and determination to develop them and use them for love of my neighbor and for the common good. Make me a worthy steward of everything good in my life. May I never take credit for what you have given me, but may I always seek to glorify you in all that I do. Amen.

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