Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Our efforts to pursue the common good must always begin with looking. With curiosity. What gifts has God placed within me? What gifts has God placed in my neighbors? What gifts has God placed among us? To be faithful stewards, we must discover what gifts God has seen fit to entrust us and our community with. If we are becoming zealous for the common good, this is where we must start. We need new eyes, a new lens to look at ourselves and the people, associations, businesses, schools, groups all around us to see what gifts God has already entrusted to us.
This curiosity was wired into us at creation. In the garden, we humans were tasked as creators and cultivators, and interestingly enough both of those tasks require paying close attention to what is already in front of us. Still today pursuing the common good requires careful looking and attentive listening. We must learn to cultivate this virtue of curiosity.
We should become curious about the Gift of Self: the ways God has blessed you and gifted you with skills and talents and relationships and passions and knowledge and temperament and experience. We also need to become curious about the Gift of Others: the blessed and uniquely gifted people God has placed all around you as gifts that are your “fitting complement”. Finally, we should become curious about all the Gifts of God throughout our community: gifts of creation or commerce or education or association.
It bears noting that this call to discover gifts necessarily places our local community at the center of our pursuit of the common good. This isn’t to say God won’t or can’t call us to pursue the common good in some remote city or distant land, but God’s gifts must always be observed. And observation is always best when it is done up close and in an unrushed manner over time. At the end of the day, we are in the best position to explore and discover the gifts that are embedded in the people and community right outside our front door.
From the forthcoming title The Hopeful Neighborhood, copyright 2020 LHM. This is not the final form, please do not distribute or quote.