giving God his due

It is worth a moment to reflect upon that which motivates us, drives us forward, propels us toward some purpose which lies beyond our own perceived abilities to imagine or achieve. From the very beginning man has heard that siren call to achieve more, become more, and be more, to “be like gods who know what is good and what is bad”.[1] Our sense of self-esteem or self-importance often blinds us from the truth of whom we are and to whom we owe our gratitude. We live our lives unconcerned for the consequences of our thoughts and actions, and as a consequence, to borrow a line from the 1986 film Top Gun, “we let our egos write checks our bodies can’t cash”.[2]

The source of light

The source of light

We see ourselves as the sun, the source of light and warmth, when we are but the moon, small, lifeless and cold, whose light is a mere reflection of a light that is not our own. Yet though the truth is there before us, we ignore or deny it with a vehemence that defies all logic for to live in the truth would diminish us and lay bare the lie that elevates our frangible nature to that of gods.

God is the source of all light and the creator of all that ever was, is, and will be. We are his creatures and as such are utterly dependent upon his mercy and grace for our existence. And yet we blithely live our lives as if they were our own to do with as we desire. If this were not the case, if we lived each day for the glory and honor of God, would not our every thought and action be in thanksgiving to the One who made us?

God created each of us and gave us all the gifts and talents we need to achieve what he desires. We exist for a reason, a purpose for which God only knows. While we may never know nor understand the specifics of God’s plan for us, we each have been given the ability to recognize all that we have been given. It is incumbent upon us to use those gifts and talents wisely and to the best of our ability in gratitude for his bounty and love.

Where we fail most often is in recognizing the true source of our gifts. We write checks without knowing whether we have sufficient cash to cover them. We play the lottery convinced that we will win the jackpot despite the odds against us. We convince ourselves that we are too big to fail. We believe that alone we can become more than we are, more than we are meant to be.

We steadfastly refuse to acknowledge our insignificance and brokenness before God. We subscribe to the greatness of the human spirit and offer credit to none other than ourselves for all that we achieve. We have laid waste to the gift of humility, over-indulged on self-importance, and made ourselves like gods. We have neglected to pay the bill, a bill that is long overdue. And we are very late in giving thanks to God.


[1] Gn 3:5.
[2] Actual quote from the 1986 film Top Gun: “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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