When life gets tough, situations look bleak and there do not seem to be any immediate solutions, it can be difficult to see the gifts of our lives. A world of constant terrorist attacks, computer hacking, out of control crime and global poverty can leave us discouraged and disillusioned. Then there are the personal challenges we all face in our families, friendships, workplaces and in taking care of our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

In the midst of life’s turmoil, the Gospel reminds us that through it all we have the presence of Jesus who tells us to pray always and to not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8). He tells the story of a widow who needed the legal assistance of a judge to help her deal with someone who most likely was trying to take advantage of her. At first, he ignores her, writing her off as someone not worthy of his attention. Against all odds, the woman uses her God given gift of persistence and keeps after the judge until he finally gives in and takes her case. During her misfortune, she recognized the resource of her persistent nature and used it to help her through the difficult time.

The gifts and resources we have vary from person to person. In addition to the resources of material goods like money, food, clothes and shelter, we are gifted with resources such as intelligence, a good education, gainful employment, a sense of humor, patience, imagination, energy or courage. None of us has everything. All of us have something.

Last week as part of our parish’s stewardship renewal, we were reminded that like the man cured of leprosy who returned to say thank you to Jesus, we are called to live every day from a place of gratitude. As we have seen, stewardship is about growing in a new way of life. This week, that new way of life calls us, like the woman in the Gospel, to be persistent in using the gifts of our lives to joyfully reach out in service to others. The woman’s cure was not just for her. It was also for all those she could now be of service to through her restored health. May these weeks of stewardship renewal ignite our enthusiasm for lifting the hearts of others through our joyful service to them.

Together in faith,

The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector