In our Gospel today we get a kind of weird story about a clever, scheming steward who wheels and deals to avoid being fired. I’m not sure I really get this story, but good for him.
What resonates with me from this reading is what Jesus says about his tactic:
‘The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.’
Isn’t that just so true? Isn’t it all about the little things?
Fortunately, I haven’t been deceived often, but when I have been, it started with a lot of small things – a half-truth here, a small lie there, a seemingly insignificant promise broken. Eventually, all the small things led to outright betrayal. I probably should have seen it coming long before it got bad; the little things all hinted at big problems, but I didn’t listen. Now I know.
On the positive side, though, I have many more trustworthy than untrustworthy people in my life. And how do I know I can trust them? Because they have shown me that they are trustworthy with little things along the way. They show up when they say they will, they check on me during hard times, and they text to show they’re thinking of me. They are open and honest. Our care for each other is mutual. Because I know I can trust them with little things, I can trust them with the big ones too.
I’ve noticed that the same is true of my relationship with God. Over time, God has shown me through the little things that God is trustworthy – an insight here, a moment of consolation there, a sense of peace amidst a stressful day. Because God has been so present to me in small ways, I’ve been able, little by little, to entrust more to God. Sometimes I may pull back a bit, but then God reassures me, and I’m able to surrender a little more.
So, then, knowing that God is trustworthy, and my closest friends are too, the invitation I hear is to consider: what does being a trustworthy steward look like in my own life? I want to be the kind of person who can be trusted.
For me, being trustworthy looks like being present to loved ones, demonstrating my care, and keeping my promises. It looks like trying to listen to God and doing the best I can to fulfill whatever mission God calls me to. In ministry, it looks like serving in ways that are worthy of people’s trust and not taking it for granted. As a person with privilege, being a good steward looks like using what I have to care for people in need and showing up for people who don’t have much privilege. As a member of this planet, good stewardship looks like doing what I can to be preserve the earth’s resources and advocating for the needs of creation.
What about you? What does being trustworthy look like in your life?
What small things do your loved ones do that help you to know you can trust them?
What little things does God do to help you to trust God? How does God help you to deepen your trust?
Are you someone others can rely upon in small and big ways?
How do you use your resources, including your privilege, to care for people and the rest of creation?
We may not always hit the mark, and we may sometimes fail each other, but if we do the best we can with the little things, we grow in our capacity to be trusted.
By Sister Leslie Keener, CDP
Sister Leslie Keener, CDP is the director of God Space, a community-building spirituality ministry in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She’s a Sister of Divine Providence with a Masters in Ministry and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreats from Creighton University. She directs retreats, meets with people for spiritual direction, and serves as the vocation director for her community. She also serves on the Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International. She enjoys music, meaningful conversations, dancing. Learning to trust — not so much.