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 Eight
And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.” And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, “Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25: 19-23
Good morning Prayer Team!
One of the most comforting lessons coming out of the Parable of the Talents is that the master is equally pleased with the servant who had made the ten talents and the one who had made the four talents. In contemporary society, we are obsessed with the idea that more is better. For instance, the better paying job is considered the more prestigious job. And our desire for material gain is almost insatiable. We want bigger houses and more powerful cars, and luxuries, etc.
If this parable played out on contemporary society, we would think that the master would be MORE pleased with the servant who had ten talents than the one who had four, simply because he had more. In the eyes of God, they were equal.
Let’s for a moment, change the numbers. Let’s say that the servant started off with the five talents made one more and ended up with six. And let’s say that the servant who started out with the two talents made four. In contemporary society, the one with six would be considered greater than the one with four, simply because he had more. In the eyes of God, the one with six would be considered a failure. Because he started out with five, God would expect ten talents.
In the eyes of God, more is not necessarily better. Because with God, it’s the effort that counts. The servant with five doubled what he had been given. The servant with two doubled what he had been given. If the servant who had been given one would have ended up with two, instead of burying what he had received, he, too, would have been rewarded equally with the others.
God expects us to do our best with what we have been given. He doesn’t expect the person with one talent to make ten. He expect him to make two. He won’t be satisfied if the one with five ends up with six even if he ends up with the most at the end, because he didn’t offer his best with what he had been given.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if we are a famous doctor, or an obscure sanitation engineer, a popular teacher or a solitary truck driver—If we are doing the best with what we’ve been given, this is what pleases God.
One of the mottos I use to live my life by is “The best I can with what I have on a given day.” This means that I must seek to do the best I can with what I have, not with what anyone else has. I can only use my talents, not someone else’s. And I have a given day on which to use my talents. I can’t use my talents yesterday, and there is no guarantee I can use them tomorrow. The best I can with what I have can only be done on this day that I have been given.
Another motto that I have use is the “God rewards effort, not success.” Because sometimes despite our best efforts, we do not enjoy success. And some people enjoy success but only because they’ve cheated to get it. God knows our efforts and blesses them more so than our successes.
We shouldn’t compare or focus our thoughts on how we stand with our talents in comparison with other people. If we’ve got one talent, He expects us to make two, not ten. We’ve got to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. This is what pleases God.
In Thee, O Lord, do I see refuge; let me never be put to shame; in Thy righteousness deliver me! Incline Thy ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be Thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! Yea, Thou art my rock and my fortress; for Thy name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for Thou art my refuge. Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. Psalm 31:1-5
Do the best you can with what you have 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: Photo credit: Leadership and Learning
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