How we live our lives matters to God!
In workplace terms, our performance matters. Moreover, God's Word reminds us that we will have to give an account to the Lord Jesus for all that we have done and left undone. In workplace terms, this is called accountability. Performance and accountability are profoundly important to the Christian life, and we cannot dismiss them as secular concerns of no importance to God.
My priest friends sometimes like to describe my pastoring style as promoting a "theology of accountability." I think they're right because, in my heart, I am keenly aware that what we do, and don't do, matters. I believe that this is true in our personal, professional, and parish lives.
As Christians, we know that we have been uniquely created, gifted and talented like no other person ever born. And to repeat a familiar phrase, we were created to know God, love God, and serve God in this life to prepare to meet him in the next.
Professionally, so many of us have been given opportunities like no other. Whether we work in the world of business, finance, law, medicine, private or service industries, so many of us have been given so much. This reminds me of the Scriptural passage, "to whom much is given, much will be expected."
And while many of us are truly accountable personally and professionally, I respectfully bring to your attention the responsibility that we also share for the care and support of our parish. We've inherited an incredible parish, one that has walked the faith journey with thousands of people for almost 175 years through the tough, tragic, and tame times. Unfortunately, I believe that too many here in our midst take what we now have for granted, presuming that what was and what is will always be. Nothing could be further from the truth unless each person is accountable to the next for our individual responsibility for caring for, supporting, and serving our parish.
While it may be easy to see the need for financial support, our accountability goes much deeper, demanding a sharing of our time and our talents as well.
In a week or two, members of our parish finance council and trustees will address our congregation, with two goals: (1) reporting as to where we are; (2) taking a deeper look at where we need to go and what we need to do to get there. In anticipation of that address, please take a look at our 2020-21 Annual Report, which you should have received in the mail. If you didn't, please call the parish office so we may send you one.
Long after I am a permanent resident of St Teresa's Mausoleum, I pray that St Teresa of Avila will still be a thriving, energized, and faithful parish. One that continues to walk the faith journey with people, but that all depends on us here and now.
Saint Paul, who constantly faced situations that could result in his death, reminded his contemporaries that at the final judgment, each person would be "recompensed according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." These words also apply to us.
When we analyze Paul's teaching in its entirety, we find it is in harmony with that of Jesus and even the teachings of the Old Testament. For all of them, faith that does not express itself in good works is no faith at all. Indeed, faith, obedience, and accountability are closely intertwined. While here on earth, what we do in the body cannot help but reflect what God's grace has done for us.
As we approach Thanksgiving, and the season of giving, let's recommit ourselves to live our lives in ways that matter to God – personally, professionally, and parochially.
Thank you for all you do for St Teresa's.