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
The Benefits of Being a Disciple—Rewards You Can Reap Today—Part Fifteen
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
What is my purpose? Why do I exist? Have you ever had thoughts like these? If we’re all honest, we all have had thoughts like this.
I will always believe that God put me on this earth to be a priest, at least for this period of my life. (I say that because I don’t know His plan for my entire life, maybe some day He will call me away from the priesthood and to some other purpose.) However, there are moments of my priesthood where I wonder “What is my purpose?” For instance, I once had to go to the City Council to argue for our church to get a liquor license for our festival. Did that have anything to do with being a priest?
In our difficult days and darkest hours, doubt and distraction caused by the devil lead us to question our purpose for working, for being married, for being a parent, even for living.
For the disciple of Christ, there are two answers to this question of purpose, two answers that can be true at any moment in life, in any challenge, in any difficult or dark moment. Our first purpose is to glorify God. This is the number one reason why God created us. To glorify God means to not only worship Him but to be in sync with Him, to be one with Him. We can glorify God at ANY moment of life, even in the difficult and dark moments.
Our second purpose is to work our way towards Paradise, to graduate this life and move to eternal life. We can take steps forward in this journey at any moment in our life as well.
To make this idea of purpose more understandable, let me compare these two purposes to going to college. We go to college for two reasons—to learn and to graduate to something bigger. We go to learn about ourselves and to strengthen our skills in a certain area. Not all the learning takes place in a classroom or a laboratory. Learning can actually take place at any time. Secondly, we go to college in order to graduate to something bigger. No one hopes to be in college the rest of their lives (even though some act like it). Students plan to move on to bigger and better things.
I remember a college student called me once and complained that he was not having any fun at college and felt like he had lost his purpose for being there. I remember asking him “are you learning? Are you knocking off your requirements for graduation?” When he answered yes to both of these, I told him that he was fulfilling his purpose, that his purpose was to learn and then graduate. If he has a lot of fun and lots of friends but didn’t learn and didn’t graduate, his time indeed would have been wasted, he truly would have lost sight of his purpose.
There are lots of times in life when we feel like we are losing our sense of purpose. Keeping our eye on the two things that God wants from us—to glorify Him and to work our way towards His Kingdom—can give us purpose at any moment in our lives and can keep our focus even when times are tough.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in Thee my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. He will send form heaven and save me, He will put to shame those who trample upon me. God will send forth His steadfast love and His faithfulness! I lie in the midst of lions that greedily devour the sons of men; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Thy glory be over all the earth! They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dig a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to Thee among the nations. For Thy steadfast love is great to the heavens, Thy faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Thy glory be over all the earth! Psalm 57
Glorify God today! Do something that moves you closer to His Kingdom today! And don’t sweat the small stuff. Our purpose is greater than any success or failure that will happen 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.
Photo Credit: Follow the Light
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