Being Stewards of the Improbable, the Highly Unlikely ... God's Surprises

Being Stewards of the Improbable, the Highly Unlikely … God’s Surprises

 

            In reality it is not optional … it is who we are.  Disciples of Jesus are called to be stewards, managers, caretakers all day, every day, because Jesus is alive and at work in us and in our world.  Our Easter celebrations have once again profoundly reminded us that because Jesus lives, we live … hope-filled!

            The apostle Paul captures the essence of our resurrection hope when he writes to the church at Rome, it is through Jesus that “… we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand … knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit …” [Romans 5:2-5]

            God’s gifts of love and life in Jesus are poured upon us and within us in the waters of our baptism.  Baptism, therefore, marks us as people of hope.  Yet astonishingly we often disregard God’s initiatives in our lives and instead focus our confidence in one another’s ability to deliver on expectations.  Of course, the truth be told, our actions and goodwill more often than not fall short of our human expectations of one another, so we end up being disappointed by one another’s performance and what we are able to do for ourselves.  But the hope we have in Jesus does not disappoint us!

            Recently I was speaking with a woman who was experiencing some rather challenging times in her life.  It has not been all that long ago that her life felt reasonably stable and rather certain, but in more recent days her life has become a series of upheavals.  Each day has seemingly brought with it one unfortunate wrinkle or disappointment or trial after another.  Amidst it all, however, this disciple of Jesus has found focus, strength and hope in her baptism.  Most recently while visiting her doctor following an unexpected stay in the hospital, she was stunned when her physician suggested that she join his staff to replace someone who was departing.  She was overwhelmed by this improbable and highly unlikely offer.  “I start tomorrow,” she said to me, “and I don’t even know what he is paying me.”  She paused for a moment and then she spoke with a confident clarity, “I see the resurrected Jesus all over this time of my life – in the hurt, the sadness, the uncertainty, the hospitalization, and now this job opportunity.  Jesus is full of surprises.” 

            Yes because Jesus lives, so too we live in a state of grace that supplies our lives with a bountiful abundance amidst the challenging and difficult moments we encounter.  You and I, being a people of hope grounded in Jesus’ resurrection, one might think that Jesus could not surprise us because of our faith … but we are humans in bondage to our egos and our need to be in control.  No wonder we are still fertile soil for Christ’s surprises!

            At present I am hearing from you and experiencing with you a fair amount of disappointment, frustration, and lament about elements of our life together as disciples of Jesus.  Being the Church of Jesus Christ today has its challenges.  What used to work no longer does.  People do not get involved like they used to do.  Yet God is continuously and consistently and constantly pouring his love into our hearts and lives.  Are you?  Am I?  Are we … people living day in, day out marked with the cross of Christ in our lives exuding hope; living as stewards of whatever comes our way; even the improbable, the highly unlikely that are God’s surprises?  We can be … because Jesus Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed … for me, for you, and for the world.  That promise of new beginnings every day is the foundation of hope and it is that hope in Jesus Christ which empowers us to be faith-filled stewards!                                                           

+Bishop Pile