Stewardship values prayer and humility

There are many characteristics of stewardship that in last month’s article I mentioned we would come to learn about together.  This month I would like to focus on prayer and humility.  These characteristics are designed to take us from thinking about stewardship to living it.  Some ideas may resonate with you and some may be a little tougher to understand.  Most importantly, they are all integral parts of a life of stewardship.

Prayer is one of the most obvious components of stewardship.  Prayer is our time to talk to God.  Without it in our lives we are just going through the motions with emptiness in our souls.  Of course, sometimes you feel more nourished than other times when you leave Sunday mass, but usually you have gained something positive (even if the baby behind you did cry the entire mass).  Most of us also talk to God alone in the course of our everyday activities, like driving to work or taking a walk.  Your soul is certainly nourished during those times, as well. 
Like human relationships, our relationship with God grows stronger the more time we spend with him.  Christian stewards desire to give back to God the time, talent and treasure he has so generously given us.  Giving back time to the Lord begins by spending time with him, setting times aside for family prayer, reading scripture and attending mass.  We will never be good stewards if we don’t spend time getting to know him on a daily basis.  There is no right or wrong way to prayer, as each individual is unique.  As we enter the upcoming Advent season, this may be a good time for you to re-evaluate the time spent in prayer each day.  If we all talked to God for five minutes a day, the length of typical cell phone conversation, just imagine how more “nourished” we would all become.

Humility takes to heart Jesus’ words to his apostles, that “apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).  It is through humility we recognize all that we are and all we have has been given to us by a loving and generous God.  In this day and age of materialism and competitiveness, we often let society dictate that humility is not always a good trait.  Humbleness often gets confused with not standing up for yourself or your situation, which is an incorrect interpretation of its meaning.  Humbleness is being unpretentious and not haughty in words and actions.

A daily life of stewardship offers many opportunities in which we can grow in humility.  Sharing the limelight for a job well-done at work or school is one example.  Accepting constructive criticism without being defensive, volunteering for a task that does not get as much attention but may be just as important, grooming people to share your successes in the workplace, or inviting a person to have lunch with out who does not run in your regular “circle” are all simple ways of saying, “I am here to serve and make a difference, but don’t’ always have to be the center of attention.”

Mother Teresa was a modern definition of humility.  Sometime athletes shine extra bright due to their humility in light of tremendous success, the same with many self-made men and women of extraordinary accomplishment.  Many will tell you their biggest compliment is that they are lauded for never “forgetting where they came from.”  Is it not ironic that even in a culture of excess, humbleness still holds value?  For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted. (Luke 14:10-11).

“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is thank you; that would suffice,” a quote from Meister Eckhart, which perfectly embodies prayer and humility.