Column: Cold winter provides a lesson on stewardship

Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

It’s been a very cold winter and I have grown especially grateful for the heat and warmth of our home.

The reason simple heat emanating from the vents at home is getting a special nod today in this column is because the power went off where we live out in the country on a really blustery, bitter-cold morning and it taught me a lesson about stewardship.

“Don’t open the refrigerator,” my husband reminded me, as I donned a sweater. Within minutes, the house seemed colder, darker and quieter as the wind howled outside. It’s amazing how we take for granted our comfort until the source of that comfort is taken away. Suddenly conscious of the cold, my sympathy for the homeless grew as fast as the temperature on the thermostat dropped.

When the electricity was turned off, we soon felt the loss of heat and light and began to worry that the food in the fridge might spoil, or that the batteries in our cellphones might die when we had no way to recharge them.

“What if the kids can’t get in touch with us? They’ll be worried,” I said.

“They’ll be OK,” said my husband.

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will
be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Lk 12:48

Truly, my husband and I are blessed with much — good health, a happy family, our jobs and comfortable places to live and do business. In fact, I think we have been entrusted with even more — those innumerable gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture passage from St. Luke reminds me that I have a great obligation to give back to God for all the gifts I have received. So often, I take my gifts for granted . . . like heat.

Stewardship is a way of life that brings God into the center of our lives with the trust, confidence and knowledge that our creator and giver of all gifts is always available to hear us and answer our prayers.

The Christian steward realizes that absolutely everything we have is a gift, and that we are called to return some of our gifts to God, sacrificially and proportionately to the gifts we have received. I can and should do more to help minister to those who are suffering.

Indeed, those of us with much are obligated to return much, and those of us with more are obligated to return even more. Jesus is the one who reminded us that we would have nothing if the Father in heaven had not given it to us.

The life of a Christian steward is a journey and a continual process of growth in faith, hope and love. From Jesus, who gave the greatest gift — his own life — that we might be saved, we learn that we have nothing to worry about.

Even without electricity on a cold winter day.

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