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 | By George Landolt

Time waits for no one; God waits for all

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you do before going to bed at night? And how do we spend the moments in between?

In some ways, time is the great unknown. None of us know how long our lives on earth will be. In other ways, time is the great equalizer. Every day that we’re given, we all get the same number of hours, minutes, and moments. And our God calls each of us to use them in similar, albeit different, ways. For example, we are all called to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17); to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48); to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt  22:39); and to “go announce the Gospel of the Lord” (Concluding Rites, Order of the Mass).

The old saying control what you can control is perhaps most directly applied to how we spend the time we are given. None of us can determine how long we live, but we can all seek greater purpose in how we spend the hours, minutes and moments God gives us. Are our interests and actions in alignment with His holy will? The spirituality of stewardship is about recognizing that everything we have is a gift from God, and that we are called to give back to God everything we have, starting with our first fruits. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we know that we are all called to loving relationships of sacrifice and salvation, where faith, hope and love abide. For those of us who seek to cultivate stewardship, this starts with giving back to God the first fruits of our time, talent and treasure.

So, what is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Is it to grab your phone to check texts, emails, social media — or is it to grab your Bible, perhaps a cup of coffee, and sit down for some silent prayer and scripture reading? Similarly, what is the last thing you do before going to bed at night? Is it to check sports scores, stock prices, Pinterest boards — or is it to get down on your knees and pray through an examination of conscience? No doubt, some days are better than others …

And what about the time in between, what do many of us do before a big meeting, event, interaction, family meal, or a major life decision? We pray! And why do we pray? We pray because we know we need to. The longing and desire for communion with our Creator has been hardwired into us from the very beginning. Made in the image and likeness of God, we seek the loving, caring, trusting relationship with our Lord that Adam and Eve once had. We know he desires what is best for us, and he will always answer our prayers — even if not in the way we desire. Fundamentally, we pray because God calls us to know, love and serve him in this life to be happy with him in the next — and the only way to really know someone is to spend quality time with them. 

I am convinced the most precious natural resource we have is time. When my birthday, Christmas, or Fathers’ Day rolls around, my kids often ask me, “What do you want? What can I get you?” For a long time, my answer has consistently been: “Time, please!” I’ve treated time like a hot commodity, one that could be bought and sold, increased, stockpiled. If only I had more time, I could do and be and live so much better. But, the reality is God gives us exactly what we need. My attitude should be to make the most of the time I’ve been given, instead of always wanting more. I don’t need more time. Rather, I need to spend the time I’ve been given more intentionally, more in alignment with His will for my life, infusing every action and moment with a spirit of prayer and perseverance.

The stewardship of time starts with prayer, active and contemplative, intentionally spending time in prayer to soak and infuse the rest of our lives in relationship with our Lord. Our first fruits mean our best fruits. For some, a regularly scheduled hour of Eucharistic adoration each week can be an anchor, time spent with Jesus talking and listening, asking God to take care of our needs and seeking to better listen and learn of His will for our lives. Intentionally committing to spend at least 1% a day (about 15 minutes) in prayer is a great place to start. Make no mistake, God wants it all. He wants 100%, nothing more or less. But we must start somewhere, and starting with 1% allows God to use this 1% to sanctify the 99%. Apart from Sunday Mass and keeping the Sabbath holy, other formative commitments to be encouraged are going to daily Mass when possible, praying the Rosary daily with family or friends, and going to confession at least once a month. Whatever you prayerfully decide is a generous, sacrificial, and consistent response God will honor.

Bishop Boyea’s Stewardship Examination of Conscience  

  • Do I give my first and last thought of each day to Jesus Christ, my alpha and omega?
  • Do I prioritize time each day for meditative prayer spent in the presence of Our Lord?
  • Do I ensure there is time in my week for Sunday Mass or, even, daily Mass as well as regular confession?
  • Do I recognize that prayer is more important than activity and that if I am too busy to pray I am too busy?

George Landolt is the Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese of Lansing.