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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros 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
Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:10-11
I recently received this email from a Prayer Team member:
I was wondering, how do we serve God? I thought by helping others and shining God’s light into them, by being kind and helpful is how we serve God. Just wondering what else I can do to serve Him.
The best answer to this question of how we can best serve God is, to see Christ in the people that you are serving. We all are familiar with the icon of Christ. Imagine if you superimpose that icon over every person you meet. And serve each person as if you were serving Christ Himself.
If you work in the food service industry, make a meal as if you were making it for Christ. This will prevent you from cutting corners and making a sloppy sandwich.
If you are a teacher, teach your students as if you were teaching Christ. This will help you have extra compassion.
If you are a doctor, imagine that you are trying to heal Christ. This will help you be more focused and even more careful.
If you are a truck-driver, imagine that Christ is riding in your truck. Would He approve of how you are driving? Imagine that Christ is in every car next to you on the road. This will help you be more apt to yield, slow down and be more careful.
Superimpose the face of Christ over your spouse or your children. This will certainly change the way you argue with them.
In Matthew 25: 31-46, Christ exhorts us to minister to even the least of His children as if we were ministering to Him. The Epistle of Peter adds to this by reminding us that we have each received a gift, which is varied for each person. We are supposed to employ this “varied grace” for one another. Good stewards recognize that God’s grace is varied towards each person. But whatever grace we have been given is supposed to be employed towards one another.
Two specific examples are given. The person who has been given the gift of speech should speak as if speaking to God. The person who has been given the heart of service, should serve recognizing that the strength of his or her service was first supplied by God. Thus, we should serve not only as if we are serving God, but we should have the humility to realize that any gift we’ve receive to serve others is a gift that came from God.
Finally, service (and everything else we do) should be done for the glory of God. So when someone asks us, what do you do for work, our answers should be almost identical: I give glory to God as a __________(put your job title in the blank).
Each day, as you wake up, affirm for yourself, “I am going to give glory at my job today by doing _______________.” Ask yourself, how can I glorify God in my work today? Each of us will have a different answer, but regardless of what we do for a vocation, we all have the ability to fill in the blank in some way.
At the end of the day, affirm for yourself, “I gave glory to God at my job today by doing ______.” And ask yourself, how did I glorify God in my work today?
We know that we serve God by serving others. Taking it one step further, we serve God by seeing Him in others.
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision. Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, saying, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kinds, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss His feet, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way; for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Psalm 2
Superimpose the image of Christ over the faces of all you encounter today, and see how this day goes!
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.
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