Whether we want to admit it or not, the future is important to all of us. Great amounts of time, energy, and money are spent to secure the future. We put savings into 401K's, we buy life and health insurance, we even dream of life after winning the lottery. The need is so great to make a better tomorrow that some people employ dishonest measures attempting to secure their future.
Jesus had much to say about the relationship between today and tomorrow both in the temporal sense and the eternal sense. In Luke 16:1-13, Jesus tells a parable about a man who was conducting his affairs in an unfaithful manner. When called to give an account of his stewardship, he continued in his dishonest way, trying to curry favor among his master's debtors for his own future preservation rather than having done his job properly in the first place. His own comfort was more important than being a faithful steward of his master's goods. His actions were shrewd according to the world's way but counter productive according to God's way. The parable goes on to say "if you are not faithful with unrighteous mammon (money), who will entrust you with true riches?"
Those things that the world is seeking--eternal life, joy, peace, and contentment--are the true riches that can only be found in the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33 says "but seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be yours as well."
The Church teaches us that as Christians we are stewards of the Lord's goods (CCC 952). We have a responsibility to use all the wealth that God has given us in such a way that His will is executed in the world. A selfish worldview is certainly contrary to the kingdom of God, but this is the culture in which we find ourselves. We should daily trust God as we live a life of faithful stewardship, not hoarding what we have been given and thinking only of ourselves. What we do with our money should reflect the actions of Christ, as we are His body in the world.
The man in the parable found himself scrambling to save his future because he was not faithful with daily stewardship. We can avoid this mistake if we establish a daily life of communion with the Lord through prayer, spiritual reading, attending mass as often as possible, and adoration. By developing a daily relationship with the Lord, we can form and order our intellect and our will to the Lord's ways. This daily intimacy with God not only fosters a deeper faith in God's provision, but it keeps our vocation ever before us.
Why is vocation so important? Because how we carry out our stewardship is directly tied to our vocation. For example, I'm a husband and father of three. How I handle the money the Lord has entrusted to me must always take into consideration that I have to feed, shelter, and clothe my family, as well as educate my children through Catholic schooling. I have to look to my heavenly Father as the role model and observe how he has taken care of his children, and then act accordingly. If today I squander what the Lord has entrusted to me, tomorrow I will be scrambling, perhaps dishonestly, to provide for my family.
If we don't see ourselves as stewards, we become independent, insecure, and lonely. We were not created to make a life for ourselves (although we can certainly choose to do so), but instead we were created for a life of communion and dependence upon the Lord. Life is so much more enjoyable and simpler when we identify our God-given responsibilities and then humbly spend our resources on doing His will.
You can live a life differently than the man in the parable by being a faithful steward, or you can get stuck in his situation and have to figure out a contingency plan for the future here and in eternity. You can trust the Lord. He will take care of you.
1. Take some time to think about your vocation (calling in life.) Ask yourself if the way you currently handle your money is in line with your God-given responsibilities.
2. St. Thomas described prudence in this way: think about where you want to end up, your goal in life, then starting with today determine what you need to do to achieve your goal. If your goal is to be a faithful steward with all that the Lord has entrusted you, what changes in your life do you need to make?