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” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Stewardship: Giving to God What Belongs to God—Part Six
“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” Matthew 25: 14-15
Good morning Prayer Team!
For the next several reflections, we are going to dissect the parable of the talents from Matthew 25, verse by verse. Because this parable is not only about the gifts that God has blessed us with, our talents and our opportunities, but our very life itself!
The parable begins with a man going on a journey who calls his servants and entrusts them with “talents.” One of the servants receives five, another two and another one. None of the servants received nothing. Everyone received something. However, they didn’t all receive the same thing.
These two thoughts are crucial. First, there is no one who received nothing. Everyone received something. Everyone has a “talent” to do something. Everyone has a means by which to serve God and serve others. There is no one who has no means by which to serve God and to serve others. So, when people complain “I’m not good at anything,” that statement is untrue. They either haven’t found the thing in which they excel, or they are not interested in excelling in anything. Because everyone has some means by which to live out the two great commandments—to love God and to love one another. God does not set anyone up for failure by not allowing them mans to love God and to serve others.
If the “talent” also represents the span of our lives (more on this in a future reflection) then each of us has been blessed with a different lifespan. Some will live to be 100 and others will live to be 1 or two. However, God has blessed each of us with an amount of life (a finite amount) and the means to glorify God during our lifespan. Just as the three men did not receive the same amount of talents, so we are blessed with a certain amount of life. Some will live to be 20 and others 40 and others 80. He has given each of us a unique amount of life.
The second thing to take away from these two verses is that it is good that God made us all different. Can you imagine if each of us was a doctor, or a lawyer, or a teacher? We need all the different jobs and all the different skills in order to cover all the things that our society needs. We need people who will deliver the mail as well as the doctors to deliver babies at the hospital, as much as we need people to deliver the groceries that we buy. God doesn’t give everyone “five talents.” He doesn’t make everyone so that they will graduate from college, or live to be 100, or become wealthy. God does bless each person with some talent and we are supposed to use these talents to His glory by serving others with them.
Because our talents are gifts from God, we should give them freely. This means that above the talents we have that we use to acquire and hold down jobs, we should give some of our talents away for free. We should all give something for which we don’t get paid. Volunteer work and service should be a part of every life, and we should use our talents in the service of others at times when it doesn’t not net us anything materially.
Here are some things to reflect on today. What are some of the talents and opportunities that you have been given, with which you can glorify God? What inspires you to use them? How and when does fear keep you from doing things with your special talents?
Come, O believers, let us labor with zeal for the Master. Since He distributes His wealth to His servants, let each of us correspondingly increase the talent of grace that we received. Let one acquire wisdom by means of good deeds. Let another celebrate the liturgy with splendor. Let the believer communicate the word to the uninitiated, and let another disperse his wealth to the poor. And so let us increase that which was lent to us, that as faithful stewards of grace we may be counted worthy of the Master’s joy. O count us worthy of this joy, Christ God, since You love humanity. (Aposticha, Orthros of Holy Tuesday, translated by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)
We all have talents. You have them, I have them. Use your talent today to glorify God by helping someone else.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: Project Inspired
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