When our kids were growing up about 20 years ago there seemed to a lot of emphasis placed on a child’s self-esteem. We were counseled by teachers and coaches to build our child’s self-esteem so they would have the confidence to grow and thrive in a changing world. Of course, anything can be overdone and I remember one of the kids went to an end of season pizza party for their soccer team. They had a great time at the party and each player was awarded several trophies and certificates for their participation, enthusiasm and other “achievements.”
The “bar” was set pretty low for awards that year. Every kid’s self-esteem may have benefited for about 5 minutes but in the long run, the excessive awards activity may have done more harm than good.
Our readings today reminded me of the soccer awards. Instead of worrying about self-esteem, St. Paul and Jesus set the bar pretty high.
St. Paul has many guidelines in his letter to Titus but they are qualified by his description of Grace. God’s gift of Grace has been given to us freely. It saves us and teaches us to live our lives devoutly as we await the Glory of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the Disciples they need to carry out what they have been commanded to do…what they are obliged to do… without complaint and without a sense of entitlement.
This morning we may want to reflect on what we are obliged to do. Have we been able to discern all the gifts God has given us? Are we able to use those gifts in His service with joy and humility?
Let us pray we can be open to God’s gift of Grace and discern His will for us today.
-Deacon Steve Whiteman