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
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 Fourteen
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Good morning Prayer Team!
In a world where we are constantly looking with regret at the past and with hope for the future, I find myself increasingly more focused on the present. As stewards, we are called to be stewards of TODAY. We are called to be present and attentive to the opportunities and challenges of TODAY.
In Luke 12: 16-21, Jesus tells this parable:
“The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample good laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays us treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
There are two lessons to be taken from this parable. First, one has to be rich towards God. Accumulating material riches may help us in this life, but we can’t take them with us into everlasting life. The second message is that the man was so concerned with his future financial security, that he didn’t have an eye on the opportunities of today. The Lord called him a “fool” because on that very night, the man was going to die, and there would be no more “todays” for the man to help others. This man was so concerned with his own things and his own life, that he wasn’t a good servant to others. He had so many things that he had nowhere to store them, and rather than considering sharing of his abundance with those who have nothing, he decided to build bigger storehouses in which to store his goods.
Christ tells us repeatedly, that the two greatest commandments are to love Him and love one another. There is no sin in accumulating material things—I’m so thankful to have a house, a car, to have food to eat, clothes to wear, and even enjoy a few “luxuries” like an occasional vacation or a nice set of priest vestments. However, as we accumulate for ourselves, we are supposed to think also of sharing with others. Because a good steward uses what he has to help other people.
There should, however, always be a sense of immediacy when it comes to helping others. There are many people who think “I’ll help once I’m out of college,” or “I’ll help once I have my kids,” or “I’ll help once I’ve attained a certain level of wealth,” or “I’ll help once my kids are out of college,” or “I’ll help once I’m retired and don’t have to work anymore.” The problem with this thinking is what if we don’t live long enough for these things to happen? What if we are like the man in the parable and TONIGHT is the night our soul will be required of us? The second problem with this thinking is that for most of us, there are years until we retire, or have our kids out of college, or until we attain the level of wealth we consider sufficient (some people will continue to raise their definition of “sufficiency” and never attain it). And in between now and then, many years will go by and many opportunities to serve will go by and many people will go unserved and won’t get helped.
One bold statement to make in our daily prayers is asking God to send someone into our path today who needs help.
The other bold statement to make in our daily prayers is a statement of thanks to God for today. Why is that a bold statement? Because most people think that most days are “mundane” because on face value, most days are mundane. They are filled with a mundane repetition of work, childcare, travel, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. When we thank God for the blessing of today, we recognize that even if on the surface, our day may seem mundane, that every day is an opportunity to glorify God, to help others and to be a good steward. Ideally, our first thoughts each day should be thoughts of gratitude for the blessing of today. For as we read in Psalm 118:24, “This is the DAY (not the month, the year of the lifetime) which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
I thank Thee that Thou hast answered me and hast become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we beseech Thee, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech Thee, give us success! Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and He has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar! Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to Thee; Thou art my God, I will extol Thee. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 118: 21-29
Be a good steward of TODAY and its opportunities and start your day with gratitude for the new day, asking God for the opportunity to serve someone today!
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.
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