“There was a certain rich man who had a steward, who was reported to him as squandering his possessions.”
Imagine the owner of a factory throwing away hundreds of silver dollars and dozens of gold pieces. That is what happened several years ago in a certain town in Massachusetts. ‘The president of a hosiery company noticed that many needles and much silk was being wasted. He called the workers together one day and explained that in one week over 11,000 needles had been lost, each one worth more than a cent. That meant, he said, just as much as if $147 were thrown out the shop window. With those words he took from his de6k 147 silver dollars and tossed them out of the window.
He went on to show that silk was being lost to the amount of about $50 each week. With that he tossed $50 in gold pieces out among the gathered workers. Some scrambled for the gold; others rushed out to pick the silver dollars from the street; others stayed to listen to his plan for economy.
That was a rather unusual but certainly effective method of showing what waste could amount to. Wasting things can be a serious wrong. The rich man in today’s gospel determined to dismiss his manager because he had squandered and wasted. In a similar way we can expect that the Lord of all things will punish any kind of waste of the things which He has put in our charge. And you must agree with me that there is entirely too much waste of the gifts of God, too much squandering of the good things of life.
Look around your own home. With the food we waste we might feed half the world. How much electricity is wasted by the needless burning of lights. How much clothing is left to rot and feed the moths. How much fuel is wasted by failure to regulate the furnace. Rugs and furniture and woodwork are ruined through lack of attention. Add it up and your home wastes a pretty penny.
Look around your factory or office. We need no efficiency expert to tell us we waste time and material. Save money for your employer by watching the minutes and the materials. Wasting anything anywhere is not only bad business, it is bad Christianity.
We should say a great deal about waste in government, about expensive doubling of jobs, about buildings that cost twice their value, about excessive profits in war contracts, and a host of other squanderings, not to mention the sinful, senseless, plowing under of grain and destruction of cattle some, years ago. Such waste brings the curse of God.
Extravagance with money is another form of waste. Spending everything you earn, or more than you earn, is sinful. I warn you wealthy: too often people with money get the mistaken idea that the money is just for their use. That wrong idea is at the, bottom of many troubles today. Communism was spawned in such squandering. Most rich people think their riches are just for themselves. The truth is that those riches were given them as charges to be used, not just for yourself, but for the works of God.
Need we say much about the waste of health indulged in by those who overeat or overdrink? Health is a gift. Don’t squander it.
And how about time? How we waste, that precious stuff – time – the stuff of which life is made. This very day many will waste hours over Sunday paper, when part of that precious time, given by God, should be given back in the form of reading something about God in a Catholic paper.
But the waste of material things fades in importance when compared to the waste in things spiritual. For example, there are dozens of young people in this parish who are throwing away God-given talents. They could be writers, singers, teachers, musicians -but they squander their abilities. God will take it away from them if they do not use it.
Right here before our eyes this morning we see people guilty of the greatest extravagance, people coming late to Mass, wasting precious moments when they might be worshiping and adoring God.
Neglecting the sacraments is waste, terrible waste. Never saying a prayer in the hours that hang on their hands is part of the spiritual spendthrift. Failing to perform an act of charity is squandering a precious chance. Squandering spiritual gifts and treasures makes us like the wasteful steward in the gospel. Be careful, the Lord demands that you make proper use of His gifts.
Allow me to suggest this morning that we try to appreciate what God has given us. Try to put the true value upon what the Lord has put into your keeping. And then tell God during this Holy Mass that you will try more and more to realize that He has made you manager over many things, that He does not want you to squander those things.
O God, help us to use aright the precious gifts of body and soul which You have bestowed upon us. Amen.
Taken from With Parables Arthur Tonne O.F.M
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