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 Three
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20
Good morning Prayer Team!
As we journey through this topic of stewardship, one of the topics that we will keep driving home is the temporary nature of the steward. Stewards are entrusted things to take care of, temporarily.
I’d like to quote from a book entitled “It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado. The premise of his book is that it’s not supposed to be all about US, but all about HIM (God). We are here on this earth to honor Him and to take care of what He gives us. If we are good stewards with the temporary things with which He blesses us, we will one day attain permanently the Kingdom of heaven. In the chapter quoted here, the name of the chapter is “My Body is About Him.” And even though the chapter is about how we are stewards of our bodies and are supposed to use them to glorify God, the opening story in the chapter speaks of stewardship in general:
You’re acquainted with house-sitters. You’ve possibly used one. Not wanting to leave your house vacant, you ask someone to stay in your home until you return. Let me describe two of your nightmares.
The house-sitter redecorates your house. White paint is changed to pink. Berber carpet to shag. An abstract plastic chair sits in the place of your cozy love seat. His justification? “The house didn’t express me accurately. I needed a house that communicated who I am.”
Your response? “It’s not yours! My residence does not exist to reflect you! I asked you to take care of the house, not take over the house!” Would you want a sitter like this?
You might choose him over nightmare number two. She didn’t redecorate. She neglected. Never washed a dish, made a bed or took out the trash. “My time here was temporary. I knew you wouldn’t mind,” she explains.
Of course, you’d mind! Does she know what this abode cost you?
Both house sitters made the same mistake. They acted as if the dwelling was theirs. How could they?
From “It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado, p. 109-110
As I mentioned, this chapter is specifically about honoring God with our bodies. But we are supposed to honor Him with lots of things. In the last reflection, we mentioned the environment. If God made the world so beautiful, who are we to carve up nature to reflect our purposes? If God gave us unique talents, who are we to use them for destructive purposes? If God gave us talents that allow us to earn an income, why is it that we don’t use more of our means to help charitable causes? If God has given us the gift of time, another day, another year, why do we not spend more of our time serving others?
If we own the time, then it is ours to fritter away in whatever we want. If we are caretakers of our time, then we take care of what we do with our time, and we spend some of our time with Him, worshipping Him, serving Him, serving others.
If we own our talents, then we use them for self-gain. If we are caretakers of our talents, we use what we’ve been given to help the greater good.
If we own our money, then we build a big security net around ourselves, acquire more and more, and enjoy greater luxuries. If we are caretakers of our money, we make sure that some of it stretches beyond us to help others, and in turn to glorify Him.
If the environment is ours, we use it and abuse it as we see fit. If we are caretakers of our environment, we see to it that we preserve and conserve as much as possible.
O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things! His right hand and His holy arm have gotten Him victory. The Lord has made known His victory, He has revealed His vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. Psalm 98
Considering our definition of stewardship as being a temporary caretaker of something, how can you be a better steward of your money, your body, your time, the environment, etc.? Reflect on this question 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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