Or, as St. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, Dear fellow-workers,
All Christians are baptized to be fellow-workers with Christ, through the Church.
What does that mean? It means that we are to offer love and forgiveness to all whom we encounter, as best we can. It means that we share with others, as best we can, the good news of God in Christ. It means that we are supposed to thoughtfully manage our lives. And what might it mean to “thoughtfully manage our lives?” We all have varied responsibilities, resources, and opportunities.
(1) Our first duty is to care for ourselves, not out of selfishness, but out of the knowledge that we can’t do much loving if we don’t take care of ourselves. We care for our health: spiritual, mental, and physical. Then we care for others. Sometimes Christians are called to risk (or give) their health or their lives for the sake of others or the Gospel. But that does not come up for most of us.
(2) Then, we are to care for those close to us: family, friends, church, co-workers, etc.
(3) Third, we are to care for anybody and everybody in the world (and the world itself) as we can.
Resources: We all have resources. They start with our physical and mental abilities. They include the strengths of our relationships and influence on others. They include our income and other financial and material resources.
Opportunities: After we care for ourselves and those close to us, and after we meet our responsibilities to our dependents, family, church and civic duties (i.e. taxes) and estate planning, we still have more resources. Those resources include time, talents, influence, property, and money. We get to manage them for the sake of God, for the sake of love for all our neighbors. Our neighbors are anyone and everyone.
For me and Pam, St. George’s has a major claim on our time and money, beyond the duties that come with my paycheck. Many who read this are generous with time and money for St. George’s. Many can do better. Most of us also give generously of our time and money for many goods beyond St. George’s. We are good citizens of our hometowns, our state, country, and world. If you are like me, it is challenging to decide how I spend my time, money, energy, and influence. I can only do a fraction of what I wish I could do, for myself, my family, my church, and my neighbors. So I make my choices, and trust God for the rest. And God is good. All the time.