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
Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.
Our God is a God of salvation; and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.
Psalm 68: 19-20
I recently saw a video on the Internet, entitled “The Bright Side” and the first scene showed a man in a nice sports car looking up at the sky at a helicopter. The man in the car had a thought bubble that said “I’d love to have a helicopter.”
The second scene showed a man in off-roading truck next to the man in the expensive sports car and his thought bubble said “That’s my dream car.”
The third scene showed a man in a new car next to the man in the off-roading truck and his thought bubble said “I want that off-road car.”
The fourth scene showed a man in a beat up old car next to the man in the new car and his thought bubble said “I want that new car.”
The fifth scene showed a man riding a bike next to the man in the old beat up car and his thought bubble said “If only I could afford a car.”
The sixth scene showed a man walking on the sidewalk being passed by the guy on the bike and his thought bubble said “I wish I had a bike.”
The final scene showed a man in a wheelchair looking out a window at the guy walking and his thought bubble said “He can go wherever he wants.”
The moral of the story is “Be grateful for what you have.”
Any day that I wake up, that I have life, I have a chance to repent, grow in my faith, and glorify God. At a minimum, there is always THIS to be thankful for. This is why the first thing I do when I wake up each morning is thank God that I’m alive, for the very life I have. Never mind the blessings I enjoy, my family, my job, my material goods. I thank God first for my very life, for the very air I breathe, for giving me another chance for a new day. There are lots of people in the world who won’t wake up tomorrow. There are people who live in war-torn areas where they have to worry if there will be a tomorrow. There are people who are sick who will wonder how many tomorrows they have left. There are some who will die unexpectedly today and they don’t even know that there won’t be a tomorrow.
This is why we need to thank God for today and why we need to make the most out of today. Because today is what we have. And it is the greatest blessing we have. After all, what good is a family, or friends, or material possessions if there isn’t a today to enjoy them?
Going back to the video, we many times feel sad for what we do not have and we forget to be grateful for what we do have. If you woke up today, you have something—life. And if you have life, you have potential to grow in faith, glorify God, or make a difference for someone else. The video shows that gratitude is a matter of perspective. The guy in the wheelchair would be grateful just to walk, he wouldn’t even care about the fancy car or the helicopter. We need to be thankful to God for the very life we have. Because today and tomorrow, some people won’t even have that.
Lord, thank You for the blessing of seeing another day. Thank You for the blessing of my life, right down to the air I breathe. Help me to see the potential to glorify You and to love my neighbor today. Help me to make the most of the day You have blessed me with. Amen.
Make a habit of thanking God for the gift of life every day.