A few years back, I wrote a children’s poem about the Christmas story. As it took shape, I thought that my little poem wasn’t half bad. That’s when the temptation arose for me to switch my focus from writing it for the benefit of my family, to writing it so I could make some extra dough. In writing, I was using a gift God had given me, but with the wrong intention.
God gives to each of us special gifts, talents, and opportunities. They’re given so that we might serve God, bless our neighbors, and grow as people. In receiving them, the question we should ask is, “How can I use them to glorify God?” Sadly, in our materialistic culture, the question we typically ask is: “How can I use them to make some money?” That may be good capitalism, but it’s poor Christianity.
God wants us to use the gifts he gives us. That’s what Jesus meant when he said that we need to set our light on a lampstand instead of hiding it under a bushel. But, as Jesus continued, we let our light shine, not so that we might be able to see, but so that “those who enter may see the light.”
In other words, God’s gifts aren’t simply for our own benefit, but are for the benefit of others. They’re to be used primarily to help people, instead of helping our bottom line. They’re given that might be prophets, instead of seeking a profit.
Today’s gospel challenges us to see and use all of what God has given us, not to build up our bank accounts, but to build up the kingdom of God.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091911.cfm