Stewardship, Prayer, Fear, and the Ordinary

The Gospel of Matthew 14: 22-33 points out three features or lessons in our growth as stewards. These lessons involve prayer, fear, and the ordinary.

1.“…After sending the people away, He went up a hill by Himself to pray…” If there is one activity that is one of the major hallmarks of a steward’s life, it is prayer. Stewards must find time to be alone with God in prayer. Just as we find time to bond with our families and friends by spending time with them in conversation, we must spend time too with God in dialogue, by talking to and listening to Him.

How much time do you spend daily on prayer? What kinds of prayers occupy your prayer time? Prayers of requests and supplication? Prayers of thanksgiving? Prayers for discernment and guidance? Prayers for yourself and for your family? Prayers for others?

Each day, we are given a gift of 24 hours or 1,440 minutes. Assuming we spend eight hours of the day sleeping, we are left with 16 hours of productive time or time which can be used for doing different things. Our 16 hours would translate to 960 minutes. How much of your 960 minutes a day do you allot for prayer? A 10-minute prayer time throughout the day, at the least, translates to only 1% of your waking time given for prayer. Are you praying enough? Is there room in your day to pray more?

2.“…Between three and six o’ clock in the morning, Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water. When they saw Him walking on the water, they were terrified. It’s a ghost they said, and screamed with fear!…” The disciples did not recognize Jesus even if they thought they knew Him. This is a continuing challenge too in any steward’s life. We must learn to see God or Jesus in all things and in all situations – even in events which may be unknown to us or in things which may scare us or may be unfamiliar to us. Often, we do not realize it but situations which we fear or do not understand can be instances for us to see Jesus or for Jesus to come to us and say: “Courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”

3. “…Then Peter spoke up. ‘Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you…’” Peter wanted Jesus to do something unusual for him for Peter to believe that it was Jesus Who was really out there. In our lives also, we may tend to associate God with the magnificent or the spectacular, with miraculous, unbelievable things. We want to be able to “walk on water.” We are ready to believe when God shows us that He can calm the water or the strong wind in our daily lives.

As followers of Jesus, though, we must remind ourselves that God or Jesus is everywhere – not only in the big and spectacular situations of life, but also in the times when life can appear mundane, routinary, and monotonous. He is in the ordinary things that we do everyday. In the people we encounter. In the situations we find ourselves in. In seemingly unanswered prayers. In blessings, big and small. He comes to meet us right where we are if we are able to see things through the eyes of faith.

Equally as important as seeing Jesus in everything, even in situations that we fear or are uncertain about or in the regular occurrences of life, is to make Jesus real and visible to others through our actions and the kind of life that we live. It has been said that individuals who spend a lot of time together soon begin to resemble each other in terms of physical and other attributes. How much time do you spend with Jesus in prayer? How well have you come to know Jesus in your own stewardship journey? When people see you, do they see Jesus?

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