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 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
We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Fruits of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23
I Corinthians 13—St. Paul’s Treatise on Love—Part One
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13: 1-3
Good morning Prayer Team!
Many people call I Corinthians 13, St. Paul’s “Treatise on Love.” In 13 short verses, he writes a treasury on what love is. An entire book could be written just on this chapter of scripture. Over the next few days, we’ll examine this chapter in more detail as we talk about Love, the first fruit of the Spirit.
Today, we examine the first three verses I Corinthians 13, which could be summarized as “In the end, love is all that matters.” Or as the saying goes, “Love isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Jesus, in the Gospels, summarized all the commandments in the Bible into two—love God and love your neighbor. And these two can be summarized into one word: love.
In Matthew 25: 31-46, Jesus tells us that our judgment will be based on how well we loved others—did we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and minister to the imprisoned. Our judgement will not only be based on faith, but on love. Love is faith in action. When we love others, we are putting our faith into action. And when we want to put faith into action, that is done by showing either love for God or love for others. There is no faith without love. And there will be no salvation without faith or with love, or with grace, which is God’s reward of our love and forgiveness of our failures to love.
Accomplishing amazing, incredible things, like speaking languages, understanding mysteries, acquiring knowledge, and even philanthropy, done without love, amounts to nothing in the eyes of God. Without love, we ultimately accomplish nothing, we ultimately gain nothing. For the only thing we hope to gain from life is everlasting life and if love is the basis of our eternal judgment, then without love we really accomplish nothing in life.
Every day, our lives seem to get busier and more stressful. So, it is important to remember to make loving gestures each day. The success of the day shouldn’t be measured only by tangible output at work. We can produce tangible output that isn’t loving at all. Rather, the success of each day, and the goal of each day, should be the intangible gift of love offered towards others and making that work intentional throughout the day. This is what pleases God.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Help me to remember, in all that I do today, to be a person of love. When I have the opportunities to show love to someone today, may I choose love. In opportunities I will have to be frustrated and disappointed today, help me to remember to choose love first. Bless all the encounters with people that I will have today (bring some to mind), may I show love in all them. Amen.
Remember that love is all that matters at the end!
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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