Grace to you!
Yesterday, we reflected on how important are the little efforts we make in the spiritual life. I will continue along those lines by extending the reflection to what the Lord Jesus Christ said about proving “faithful in very little …” and the rewards that follows (Luke 19:17).
You may have had some handymen—plumbers, electricians, gardeners, etc.—work in your home or your office. It isn’t long before you notice who among them are faithful in little things and those who aren’t. Those who are faithful in little tasks are easily noticed. We speak of them as truly reliable and dependable people.
Reliable people want to do stuff; and when they do, they try to put in their best. Naturally, we tend to gravitate towards them and would want to reward them with long-term commitments. Customer-service loyalty is oiled by such qualities, isn’t it?
Spiritual life has some commonalities with what I have described above. You will find that those who are our spiritual heroes are those who are (were) faithful in little things. They are those who use their gifts, no matter how little they may seem.
Jesus speaks of how important it is we should use our gifts, no matter what they are or how big or small they may seem to be, as we await the time for our personal end or the Lord’s coming. He told a parable concerning a nobleman who gave equal money (ten pounds each) to his servants so they will render account at the right time (Luke 19:11-28). You may read the full story in the bible.
Permit me to give a little nuanced biblical analyses of the expression translated in many English Bible as “ten pounds.” The original concept is μνᾶς (mnas), pronounced minas.
According to George Leo Haydock, a renowned scripture scholar of the 17thcentury, in his Catholic Bible Commentary, it is “ten pieces of money, each of which was called a mna,” a Roman coin. “A mnawas 12½ ounces, which, at five shillings per ounce, is £3 2s. 6d.” So we are looking at some sum in the neighborhood of £31.5s.
That was a lot of money during the Roman period of the first century. So, in the above parable, while some used their “capital (funds)” well and made a good return on investment, one person didn’t. The ones who put their capital to good use were blessed even more. They received more money.
As I reflect on this story, I wonder why the Lord described the money as “little.” My personal spiritual reading tends to think of how a hundred thousand dollars could be seen as a little money to someone who is worth fifty billion dollars. God is rich in grace. In God’s storehouse of graces, there is abundance. So, the capacity of grace you can receive in terms of God is seen as little but, as it relates to you, it’s huge–sufficient.
The capital (grace) the nobleman gave to them was sufficient for a spiritual homerun. The problem is that one didn’t want to put what he received to good use. He did nothing with it.
Lesson: Rather than do nothing for the Lord and for the good of one another, better do something with what you have no matter how little it may seem. The “little thing,” the seemingly unnoticed mina, is God’s grace, given to us according to our needs and nature. God has impartially blessed us.
The grace God has given, whether we acknowledge it or not, is sufficient. “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It’s adequate to jumpstart the “business” and God will add more as we make progress, not as we bury our gift.
Sources of God’s grace are everywhere; around us, in the Church and in the family, through the sacraments and the Word of God in Scripture, as well as celebrated in Liturgy. May we avail ourselves the opportunities of those channels.
My prayer is that you and I may, in the final analysis, hear God, the giver of adequate gifts, whisper to our ears: “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17).
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Week 33 Ordinary Time]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.