We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28


In previous writings, I’ve used the analogy of imagining the world as a big puzzle covering the entire church complex of the church I serve at. Each of us has a piece of the puzzle, for some of us, that piece may be in the church, others it might be in the hall, or in the parking lot or on the back field. Each of has a piece to put in in this beautiful tapestry of the world. Some of our “pieces” are that we are doctors, others architects, others parents, truck drivers—we all have a different role to play. I don’t know the inner workings of a farm or a factory and yet I know we need both in order to have the things we have in the world. It’s like having a piece of the puzzle that fits in the hall, but we can’t see the pieces in the church, and we don’t really need to. All we need to do is focus on putting in our piece into the fabric of society, whatever that piece may be. It is a good thing that we don’t all have the same pieces—if everyone was a doctor, we’d all die from starvation because there wouldn’t be any farmers. If there weren’t any teachers, no one would learn how to farm. If there were no architects, there would be no school buildings to learn in. You get the idea. We are more interdependent than we think and we need everyone to do their part to make the world work the right way. This is part of our purpose—we are supposed to serve others. Remember the two great commandments—love God and love neighbor. Each of us has been given a way to love our neighbors, to serve our neighbors. And thankfully, there are many nice people out there who do nice things for others.  


However, there’s more we need to do.  


Not only has God given each of us a talent so that we can perpetuate the life of the world. He has given each of us a role to play in the salvation of the world. He has given each of us a way to spread the Gospel. Some of the roles are more obvious—the clergy. Yes, the clergy are supposed to lead the effort to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are ordained to spend their whole life doing that. However, the spreading of the Gospel is not limited only to the clergy. Before His Ascension, Jesus commissioned the Disciples to “Go, 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 do all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) This is a commission that is read over each person when they are baptized. We don’t read the Gospel of the baptism of Christ. We read the Gospel of the Great Commission. This is an order. It is not a “great suggestion.” It is a commission that each person shares, regardless of if they are a clergyman or not.  


The church needs some other obvious helpers—we need people to teach Sunday school and adult catechism—those are obvious roles in spreading the Gospel. There are other roles like being on the Parish Council, administering the church that spreads the Gospel. That’s right, if you are helping the church in any way, you are helping to spread the Gospel, whether you are actually teaching it or not. The most important role in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that of parent. Parents have more influence on young children, in particular. They may go to church once a week, but every day in the home is an opportunity to pray or read Scripture. In fact, the first church is actually the “kat’ ikon ekklesia,” the church of the home. Many parents abrogate this responsibility, reasoning that “the church will take care of it.” And the fact is, the church can supplement what goes on in your home. But the best place to learn about the Lord is actually in your home.   


The other more subtle way to spread the Gospel is simply by example. Live a Christ-centered life. Serve God at work, by having a clean mouth, putting in a good effort, not just making it about money. Serve God when you are driving by being courteous and following the law. Serve God by keeping your house and yard clean, doing your part to keep our planet clean. Serve God by offering words of encouragement to people around you. People who are at peace with God are at peace with themselves. And people who are in peace stand out in a world that is beset with “war.” Others see peace and will see that it is attractive. And others will ask how we get peace and then there will be an opportunity to talk about the peace that comes from God, the peace that passes understanding. (Philippians 4:7) 


Going to today’s verse, from Romans 8:28, we read that “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” Each of us has been called by God to love Him, to serve others, and to spread the Gospel. This is His purpose for each of us. And we know that God can work good in each of us under these three points is we just let Him.  


Lord, thank You for the gift of this day, and whatever opportunities it will bring. Help me to understand my role in the world, with the talents You’ve given me, help me to understand how to best use them to serve others. Help me to use them to glorify You. And help kindle in me a desire to help others on their path to salvation, whether it is teaching, encouraging or just setting a good example. Help me to keep the idea of doing my part for the salvation of the world at the forefront of my mind each day, beginning with this day! Amen.


Work with the Lord today, be Christ-centered in your behavior, encourage your children by directing them to pray and read Scripture, encourage others by example, and play a role in the salvation of the world. Put in the piece not only in the tapestry of society but in the tapestry of salvation.


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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