July 25, 2021 — Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 KGS 4:42-44; PS 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18; EPH 4:1-6; JN 6:1-15
Our readings today remind us that we are called to give God everything we have. We are inspired by the servant and the little boy, who didn’t have much but gave the very best of what they had and all that they had for God. In turn, He multiplied their gifts above and beyond what they could have imagined. God will do the same for us today. We must allow Him to do so.
Our first reading from the second book of Kings foreshadows the multiplication of the loaves and fish in our Gospel today. The servant brings to the king, Elisha, twenty barley loaves from the first fruits of the harvest and fresh grain. Elisha gave strict commands to give it to the people to eat. The servant questioned, “how can I set this before a hundred people?” Yet Elisha stated that the Lord said, “They shall eat and there shall be some left over.” And we hear that it was true, people ate and still, there was food left over.
Likewise, in our Gospel Jesus asked the apostles how they were going to feed the crowd that had been following them. Philip replied that not even 200 days’ worth of wages would be enough for the number of people. All they had were five barley loaves and two fish from a little boy. Yet Jesus multiplied the food so that there were baskets left over. All ate and were satisfied.
The servant and the little boy are excellent examples for us as Christian stewards. The servant gave the very best of what he had, and the boy gave all that he had, then God did the rest.
We must ask ourselves, what is our very best, and are we giving it to God? It can be easy to give God the bare minimum. It is convenient and doesn’t cause us to stretch ourselves. Yet, a key component of living as a good steward is constantly re-evaluating our lives, particularly our relationship with God, to ensure we are not just ‘scraping by,’ but rather, giving God our entire lives.
As we evaluate our lives, we should ask ourselves — “how am I giving God my time, using my talents, and sharing my treasures?”
We are called to give God adequate time each day and if we don’t plan it out then it is likely that He won’t get any. Maybe it is the first fifteen minutes of each morning or the first fifteen when we get home from work. It could be the moment all the kids are napping or a quiet fifteen minutes on our lunch break. We need to find what works best for us so that God can become a greater part of our daily lives.
An additional way we are called to spend our time is with our loved ones. We are called to give undivided time to our families—whether it is having a family meal, quality time in the evening, a family game in the back yard, praying together, or a phone call to check in on our siblings or relatives—giving our families time is a key component of living as a Christian steward.
We are also called to put our gifts and talents to good use too. We all have countless talents that we are asked to use each day, yet sometimes we miss the opportunity to use them well. Yet the servant and the boy teach us that it is not up to us to decide how our gift will affect others. God will do that. All we need to do is to give it well. So whether we are called to go to work to provide for our family, phone a friend to just listen, or cook three meals a day for our spouse and kids, we are called to do it for the glory of God and with our whole heart.
Lastly, the servant reminds us that we are called to give the first fruits of our treasures. The servant gave to Elisha the very best of his harvest, not the scraps. It shows how important God was to that servant. And likewise, in our Gospel, the little boy shared all that he had with Jesus, not just part of it.
We are called to do the same. It is easy to give something; it is difficult to give the finest gift. Giving our very best requires us to evaluate our priorities in life. We must ask ourselves—do my spending habits reflect that God is the top priority in my life? Do I view all of my possessions as gifts from God that can be used for His glory?
Giving God our finest gift can be a challenge. I am sure the little boy was thinking to himself, ‘I just gave up my dinner!’ Yet it is always worth it. When we strive to live out our call as Christian stewards by entrusting all that we have been given to the One who graciously gave us these gifts, we will be blessed beyond measure.
As we begin a new week, let us spend some time evaluating our relationship with God by asking, ‘what is my very best, and am I giving it to God?’