Friday, June 14, 2013

My Dad, A Perfect Example of Stewardship

Mom and Dad in Alaska
Father's are indispensable, irreplaceable and the only ones who can do their job.  The "First Father" of the human variety would be St. Joseph. He rocked.

He faced off against government hit-squads that wanted to kill his son, he defended his wife's honor when God the Father chose her to carry the Savior before she was properly married, and to save them both, he took his family to a hostile land that wasn't too fond of Jews. It takes a real man to be a dad. Wimps need not apply. 

My own father has many great qualities.  He's kind. He's generous. He taught me many things, though I wish I had listened with greater attention when he used to work on his car in the garage. My fault. Not his. He taught me how to be present, but that's another one I have to work on daily. One of the most important gifts he gave me was his example of good stewardship.

When people think of stewardship, they usually equate it with either tithing (giving 10% to the Church, the poor, the needy) or the Parable of the Talents. The idea is the same: God gives us everything; Nothing is ours; We must make the most of what we have been given and offer it back to Him. That's the gist. 

God has been generous with my father, and I believe it's because he's done well with his gifts. His generosity extends beyond the monetary--though his interest-free loans to relatives and employees, the well-above-industry-standard wages he paid his employees when he ran his own business, and his donations to Catholic schools, the poor, and the Church are nothing to sneeze at.

My father takes everything, EVERYTHING the Lord gives him and makes use of it...and offers it back.

He has time, so he gives away generous portions to drive donations to a shockingly poor Indian school in another state, and he drove a bus for the disabled. (Until they eliminated volunteers from their program.)

He has health, so he cooks and delivers meals to an infirm couple when they're in need, and he has a regular exercise schedule of walks, weights, and stretches to care for his gift.

If he sees something broken, he fixes it, so everyone can use it. If he sees plants that need tending, he tends them, so everyone can enjoy their beauty. If someone needs help, he's right there, without any prideful quibbles about the work being "beneath him".

I'm miserly. I often think of reasons why I can't volunteer, why it's not worth my time to help, or why I shouldn't take advantage of that gift I've been given, usually because of fear, sloth, indifference, or a combination of all three.

My father is never indifferent. He has a gift for seeing the possibilities in the mundane.

I try to follow his example as I'm navigating my own life, but it's a work in progress.  I'm lucky to have a living reference when I need motivation, and I'm grateful God paired me up with my father.

There's so much more I can say, but I'll keep it simple.

Thanks, Dad. I love you.

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