Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Good morning Prayer Team!
When God passed out talents, no person was missed. Every human being that God has ever created has been given the ability to do “some” thing through which God can be glorified. For many, the labors are obvious-some of you reading this message are doctors or teachers, or parents. Some are students, lawyers and engineers. And your jobs, your labors are obvious, both what you do, and what you should be doing. I read in a book recently that even a man born blind, whom Jesus healed in the Gospel of John (chapter 9), received an opportunity to glorify God, and his labor was one of patience.
“Fear” in biblical use not only refers to “fright” but to awe and respect of God and the beginning of awe and respect is a sense of gratitude. Blessed is every person who has respect and reverence for the Lord, who shows grateful for whatever they have been given by God, and takes that gratitude and gratefully “takes up his cross”, uses his or talents to the glory of God.
The labor of our hands is what we get as a result of our work. That might be tangible-you design a house, and someone takes refuge in it. You prescribe healing and a sick person becomes well. It might be intangible-how often does a parent see the fruit of their labor on the same day. You raise a child, fill him or her with knowledge, with values and when they are an adult, then you see the fruit of your labors. And sometimes the labor of your hands leads to results that you never see-the teacher who imparts knowledge that students remember year after the class has ended, or the baker who makes beautiful cookies but isn’t at the party where they are enjoyed.
The ultimate fruit from our labors is not dollars and profits however. It is “treasure” in heaven. If you make a lot of money but don’t glorify God in your labors, He is not going to glorify you in everlasting life. But if you glorify God in all that you do, even if you never become materially rich, you will be spiritually rich and you will be rewarded by the Lord for eternity. If indeed we are glorifying God in our works, there is reason to be happy. It is going to go well with us, maybe not perfect, maybe not even happy all the time, but if we “stick with it” when it comes to our labors, we will become spiritually rich, and treasure in heaven will make it go well with us for everlasting life.
Labor Day is a holiday that honors workers by giving them a day of rest, an extra holiday at the end of summer. Most people will spend this day trying not to think about work. When you get done reading this message, however, I want you think about your work for a few minutes. And I want you to do two things-Thank God for whatever He has given you, and ask God to inspire you to glorify Him in the work that you do.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all the things you have given me. Thank You for the talent and ability that You have given to each person to contribute something to Your glory and to the betterment of our fellow man. Help me in the work that I do-may it be for Your glory. May I always strive to do it with patience and with joy. Allow me material benefit from my labors so that I have what is sufficient to sustain myself. Allow me spiritual benefit so that I may be rewarded in Your eternal kingdom. Amen.
If anyone recognized today’s Psalm verse, it is sung during every Orthodox wedding.
I wish everyone a blessed and restful Labor (free) day!