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
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed You. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Good morning Prayer Team!
For the next two days I’m going to write about consequences, what happens based on the decisions we make. Today I want to share a story I heard from a priest at summer camp last year, called “Then what?” The story goes like this:
A college senior was stressing out over final exams. So, he went to his priest for a little counsel and a prayer. The priest asked him why he was so stressed out. The senior said, he was stressed out over his upcoming finals. “It’s like the most important thing ever these finals. They will set the tone forever for me.”
The priest asked him, “once you pass your finals, then what?”
The student asked, “I guess I will go and get a job.”
The priest asked “and then what?”
“Make lots of money.”
“Watch the children grow up.”
“Be a grandparent.”
“Retire and travel the world.”
“Well, eventually, I’ll probably get sick.”
“Then I’ll eventually die.”
“and THEN what?”
Jesus tells the disciples that they will have eternal reward because they left everything and followed, Him. Jesus has never told us to not laugh or have fun today. He has told us to enjoy our lives, but to use our talents for the benefit of our fellow man, and to love Him with all that we have.
The message of the story from camp is simple. Every day we have stress. Every day we make decisions. Every day there are consequences to those decisions. But every day that goes by, we are one step closer to the “I’ll eventually die,” and the resulting “and then what?” So take time today, and every day, no matter how busy, or stressed you are, and take time to grow towards Christ. Because we are all going to die at some point, “and then what?” And that answer may very well be affected in some way by the choices we make or don’t make today.
Lord, thank You for the gift of another day. I try not to take these days for granted. I want to always try to be grateful, even for something as simple as the light of another day. Whatever happens today, please help me to be grateful for it. Help me to see each day as part of my passage to eternal life. So that if today is a great day, or a difficult one, that I make strides in that journey. Bless me as I begin my week. Walk with me in all the tasks I will do. Be with me in the conversations I will have. Help me in all things to bring glory to You. Thank You Lord for the gift of today! Amen.
Have a great day! (And then what? I’ll have a message again tomorrow!)
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