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 Ten
You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11-12
Good morning Prayer Team!
We’ve now been studying the Parable of the Talents for the past several reflections. We’ve talked about the talents as amounts of money, the Biblical interpretation. We’ve discussed the talents as abilities we’ve been given, the contemporary interpretation. In reflecting on this passage yet again, there is a third interpretation. The talent is your whole life, all of it.
What does your “whole life” refer to? One could argue that our “whole life” is just that, the sum total of the life we’ve had. At present I’m forty six years old. My whole life would be everything I’ve done thus far. The problem with this definition is let’s say for example I spent my first 45 years wasting opportunities to use my abilities. And then let’s say during the past year, I’ve done an incredible job using my talents to serve others while glorifying God. The problem with this definition is that if I’ve only one year against a lifetime of bad years, I might feel despondent and might be wonder how could one good year make up for forty five bad years. I’d have to live 46 good years in a row to make up for 45 bad ones, and what if I don’t live that long? Is there no hope for me?
The best way to define our “whole life” is to define it as “the life you have in front of you right now.” In other words, to be a good steward of our whole life means to be a good steward of this very day, in fact, to be a good steward of this very moment. The good steward is the steward who is “present” and making the most of this very moment. This is good news indeed. If one hasn’t been a good steward of his life this year or this day, the opportunity is there at all times to become the good steward God intended for us to be.
To be present means to be one hundred percent with the person or situation that is right in front of us. Many people quote the biblical idea of the tithe when it comes to giving to the church on a yearly basis. We say ideally that the amount we give to the church is ten percent of our yearly income. But what if we only gave a “tithe” of our attention to the people who are in front of us right now? Many people try to multi-task. They try to do several things at the same time. And they bring this into conversations. They are never fully present, even in a simple conversation. The good steward gives his or her ALL in what they are doing and to whom they are doing it with.
It is true that the only thing we are guaranteed in life is the moment in which we are living. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow (and even later today) is not guaranteed. So, to be a good steward means to be present in offering your best TODAY, in fact at this VERY MOMENT. Because the talent of our “whole life” starts with what we are doing right now. And then it builds to being faithful on this day, and eventually to be faithful tomorrow, next month, next year and for the remainder of our lives.
I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to Thee, O Lord, I will sing. I will give heed to the way that is blameless. Oh when will Thou come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cleave to me. Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. Him who slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. The man of haughty looks and arrogant heart I will not endure. I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No man who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no man who utters lies shall continue in my presence. Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord. Psalm 101
Be a good steward today, and throughout today, in each circumstance and in each conversation in which you find yourself!
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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