by Lesle Knox
Without any prompting from me, my husband put on his warmest coat, hat and gloves to go out into the subzero gray morning to plow the snow from our long driveway so that I could get my car out of the garage to go to work.
He then cleared the steep driveway of the home belonging to the widow who lives across the road from us. He came back into the kitchen to warm up with a cup of coffee for a moment before heading back out into the frigid cold to plow the drive of the widow who lives to the south of us.
“It’s nothing,” he says.
No praise is needed. He does this work quietly, cheerfully, merely grateful for the ability to help.
Caring for our neighbors as he does reminds me of the biblical verse in which Jesus tells us what to do: “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret. And your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:3-4).
During this season of Lent, many people ask their pastors for suggestions of opportunities for stewardship, for ways to give back to the Lord for all the goodness in their lives. They ask, “Is there a ministry that needs my help?”
Of course, the church can connect people to many opportunities for service. There are numerous organizations, programs and ministries that need physical, spiritual or financial help, such as those supported by the Archbishop’s Call to Share.
Opportunities to show our love for others are plentiful. Giving money is one way, but we can also give kindness and respect. We can offer a word of encouragement to a struggling young person, shovel snow or dig a garden for those who need help, cheerfully greet our co-workers, “pay it forward” at a fast-food drive-thru, volunteer at the hospital, let someone else have that parking space, straighten the pamphlets in the vestibule at church, sort and donate coats, clothing, and household items, send a greeting card to an elderly relative, pray a rosary for the repose of the soul of a departed loved one, take fresh produce to the food pantry, mentor a student . . . we can do all these things and more.
Why do we give alms, especially during Lent? As Christian stewards, it is because we are grateful to God and recognize that all we have is a gift from God. We share because we love God and our neighbor as ourselves.
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4:10).