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 Seven
Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statues of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burnt incense at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings upon that altar. Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to Thy servant David my father, because he walked before Thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward Thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord, my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom Thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give Thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this Thy great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and non like you shall arise after you.” I Kings 3:3-12
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
We read in I Kings 3, the story of a how a new King Solomon asked God for wisdom. God told him to ask for anything that he wanted, and he asked God for wisdom. This request pleased God who promised Solomon that he would be wiser than any who had come before him and would be wiser than any who would come after him. In fact, as we remember Solomon, the first thing that comes to mind is his wisdom.
One of the rewards we can reap today from being a Christian is wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom and foolishness stand at odds with one another. So, one cannot be both wise and foolish at the same time. Wisdom is what enables us to avoid what it foolish in the world. Wisdom brings the right answer when we are confused. Wisdom helps us discern what is right we are not sure. Wisdom is what helps us hear God’s voice amidst the voices of confusion.
When we slow down and are silent, when we take time to sit with God and listen to His voice, we get the wisdom we need to negotiate the tricky turns of life. Many times when I hear confessions, I pray to God as I am listening “Please give me a thought that will bring some direction to this person who is making his/her confession.” And then I wait for the thought to come. Sometimes the thought surprises me—it seems to have nothing to do with what I’m hearing. But then as I expound on the thought and begin talking about it with the person, it all makes sense. Again, I’m no spiritual master. However, when I give it over to God, asking Him for wisdom, I am just about always rewarded for my faith with a wise thought that He provides.
Wisdom allows us to reality for what it really is. We live in a society of educated fools, and we are being conditioned to see the world not as it really is. Beauty is what is on the outside, not the inside. Success is defined as riches, not efforts. Wisdom enables me to see beauty on a deeper level, and to define success based on effort and not outcome.
Wisdom enables me to see and to understand who God is—that He is loving, merciful, and good. That God truly is a Father. “Conventional wisdom,” the wisdom of the fools of the world says that there is no God, that we Christians pray to an unseen, unheard fable god. The Christian knows Psalm 14:1: The fool says in his heart “there is no God.”
Wisdom helps me to understand who I am. One thing we all struggle with is identity. We often fall prey to basing our identity, how we see ourselves, on how other people see us. We feel successful if other people say we are successful. We feel pretty if other people tell us we are pretty. Wisdom helps us to understand that we are all beloved of the Father—that God loves each of us, that He has made each of us unique and special. Just because I have some deficiencies, and even when others remind me of them, wisdom leads me back to God and the knowledge and confidence that He loves me, and has blessed me with unique and special gifts by which I can honor Him, serve others, and feel confident in myself.
Finally, wisdom helps us understand what life is all about. Wisdom helps me to know how I got here, where I am going and how to get there. The answer to all three of these things—our origin, our purpose, and our destiny—is love. Wisdom helps me discern what is love and how to love.
One of my favorite prayers is the “Serenity Prayer.” This prayer references how wisdom is the determining factor in knowing when to accept something and when to fight for a change. Most people know only the first sentence. However, there is more to the prayer. This prayer speaks about trust and surrender, two concepts that we’ve already discussed, and links them to serenity and wisdom.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. (The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr)
Pray for God’s wisdom, listen for His voice, ask Him to provide thoughts, and trust the thoughts that He provides!
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: Christianhub
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK
Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is a 501(c)3 and an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America . It is a recognized leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty-two years. We have worked to create a community for both believers and non believers alike by sharing the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. Click to signup to receive weekly newsletter.
Join us in our Media Ministry Missions! Help us bring the Orthodox Faith to the fingertips of Orthodox Christians worldwide! Your gift today will helps us produce and provide unlimited access to Orthodox faith-inspiring programming, services and community. Don’t wait. Share the Love of Orthodoxy Today!