With the carelessness of someone who pays too little attention to the church year the last of a sermon series entitled ‘Putting God First?’ ended up with a sermon on stewardship for the first Sunday of advent.
Stewardship is about more than money of course, but in the middle class world I’m part of the way we use our money says more than we would like about our priorities, principles and preferences. At least my bank thinks so because last week I also had problems with my credit card. It turns out that someone using my card number wanted to buy things quite outside my normal purchasing pattern; thus alerting the bank. So while I may not be conscious of my use of money, the bank is keeping a close track of it believing that there is a link between how I use money and who I am!
Turning to Matthew’s account of the parables of the 10 bridesmaids and the talents reminded me that both are responses to the question ‘how should we live’ in what seems to be a lengthening delay and ‘how can we prepare’ when we are unsure what we are preparing for?
The answer is not to develop a theological scheme to smooth over the uncertainty, nor a doctrinal system to fill in the gaps but rather to cultivate a way of life which is always prepared yet always patient. To steward our lives in a manner which is faithful to God’s call on us; wise enough to be fit for the longer term, bold enough to create and take up opportunities.
It is the essence of hope that in Christ all things will be remade, a process whose fulfilment has yet to come. In the meantime we wait; but our waiting is not resignation it is active faithfulness. Sowing generously; using the gifts, talents and resources we have to point to the Lordship of Christ over the whole world.
Advent is a time of hope, a time of looking forward, but also a time to live as good and faithful followers of Christ. And when the snow days are over and shopping for Christmas recommences, may our choices reflect who we are.