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
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Go-To Verses of the Bible
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Matthew 6:33
Good morning Prayer Team!
What things make you the most anxious? The answer is probably unique to each person who is reading the Prayer Team today. Undoubtedly, someone has stress at their job, or in their marriage or with their children. Someone had financial uncertainty or medical uncertainty. Others are looking at a stack of work wondering how it will all get done. And someone is worrying about their children who are far away. I would venture to say that there is no one who isn’t anxious about something.
In Matthew 6: 25-32, Jesus tells us not to be anxious about things. He specifically mentions not being anxious about the things we eat, drink and wear. I suppose one could question God’s telling us not to be anxious about food if he or she is about to throw a dinner party. And it would probably be tough to convince the person going for a big job interview to not be concerned about clothing.
Jesus has answers to this. He asks us to consider grass in the field. I don’t know how many of you have taken the time to look at dew on grass in the morning. It is beautiful. One morning, I came out to get the paper and the sun was rising. The grass was damp and as the sun was hitting the grass, it was like a bed of diamonds was covering my yard. The water droplets glistened in the early morning sun. It was a beautiful sight. I was thinking about Matthew 6:30, where Jesus says “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the over, will He not much more clothe you?” I was planning that very afternoon to mow the grass, and all those beautiful tips of grass on which the water sat like precious diamonds would be destroyed by the millions by the blades of the lawn mower.
If God made the grass of the lawn so beautiful, grass that is routinely cut down and destroyed, did He not make us more beautiful than that? Indeed He did. There are two messages to today’s verse. The first is that each of us has value and beauty. There is no one who doesn’t have these things. And the second is that we matter to God. God’s going to take care of us if we trust in Him. God’s got our back. That doesn’t mean that He’s going to provide us with a winning lottery ticket. That doesn’t mean He’s going to get us a job promotion. And that doesn’t mean that life becomes magically easy and without stress when we turn it over to Him.
It means that God will get us through every trial. God will never leave us feeling alone. It means that God will give us what we need to survive the challenges of life. Some of us face big challenges. I believe it is God who gives us the strength to put one foot in front of the other, to get us through those deep valleys. It’s just a matter of trusting Him. Remember the beautiful flowers we buy at the store to put in our homes. They are beautiful for a while and then they die and we throw them out. We are infinitely more beautiful than them.
When we seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, then all the things we worry about are handled, because they are seen in the proper context of what they really are—challenges on the road to something that is so great that no challenge will dwarf the reward of where we are going. Try to meet each challenge today with love and with patience. Try to show love to each person you come in contact with, whether they return your love or not. If we focus on the things we CAN control, rather than the things we cannot, you will see anxiety will go down, focus will go up, and ultimately faith will grow.
Lord, thank You for creating me. Thank You that I am alive to see today. Thank You for the possibilities that this day holds. Walk with me in the challenges that will come my way. Help me to know that I am beautiful in Your eyes, and to not be anxious about things. Help me to be focused on loving others and giving my best effort in all that I do today. Amen.
Focus on Godly things today and everything else will fall into place!
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: Just Between Us
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