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
Whose Name is on the Deed of Your Life?
Jesus said “Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27
Good morning Prayer Team!
We give a lot of our attention to concept of ownership. We like owning things. We own our clothes, we own our cars, and we own our homes. We like the concept of having something that is ours. We like the prestige (and maybe even power) that comes from saying we own something (i.e. a company, a winning team, etc.).
Today we’ll discuss three things that we hopefully can all relate to—a car, a house, and a life. First, the car. I’ve seen signs on cars many times which say “God is my co-pilot”. If God is the “co-pilot”, who then is the “pilot”? If we are the pilot, then the pilot has veto-power over the co-pilot. And if we have veto-power over the co-pilot, then God is not in the lead of our life, He comes in to assist as necessary, to offer advice that can be heeded or ignored. Do we slide over, give God the wheel of the car and let Him drive? Or do we keep the wheel under our own control at all times?
Second, let’s talk about our houses. Whose name is on the deed to your house? If you own a home, your name is on the deed. However, is that home used to serve only you and your purposes, or to glorify God and His purposes? Is the Lord the center of the activities that go on in our homes? Is there frequent prayer offered to Him? Is He central in marriages, and in the lives of the children they beget?
And finally, let’s talk about the deed to our very lives? Whose name is on that deed? Ours? His? Do we think more in terms of “it’s my life” or “I live for Him?”
Lots of young people (and some older people too) are constantly saying “YOLO!” “You only live once,” as sort of a license to do whatever behavior they want. We should replace YOLO with “LIGHT”—Live Intentionally, Glorify Him Today!” ™
Going back to the analogy of the car and the idea of “Slide over, give Me (Christ) the wheel and let Me drive,” one might argue, “well, if You’ve given me this gift, isn’t it mine free and clear to do with it what I want?” The answer to this question is both simple and complex. Let’s give the simple answer and the complexities we will discuss down the road. The simple answer is that everything we have that is good is a blessing from God. (James 1:17) We are not owners of the gifts but stewards of them. Just like I own my home today but I won’t own it in one hundred years from now because I will not be alive one hundred years from now.
Everything I have that is good is a blessing. Every day I am given is a gift, a gift from God, a gift to be cherished, an opportunity to glorify Him each day. So, the “deed” if you will, to my life should have Christ’s name on it. It is a gift from Him. My home, my car, my talents, they should all be His. I should reflect Him in my life. And in this way, I am prepared to be with Him for eternal life.
Jesus reminds us in today’s Scripture verse, that if our house is built on sand, it’s going to be destroyed in a storm. If our house is built on rock, it’s going to survive. And if our life is built on the rock of Christ, with His name “on the deed,” it’s going to survive the storms of life. And not only survive, it’s going to thrive.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you set upon a man to shatter him, all of you, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his eminence. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:1-8
This question of whose name is on the deed of your life is critical. We will come back and discuss further. As for today, be thankful that you are alive to enjoy it, see today as a blessing from God. I remember in grade school when the teachers used to tell us, “First thing, put your name on the paper.” Well, put HIS name on your day today! Make it HIS!
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: Extreme Mind Makeover
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