When a man begins, with warm faith to live well, the enemy of good usually sends him various frightful temptations, so that he, being daunted by this, might leave off the work of his good desire. But if you will not prepare yourself for meeting such temptations, then beware of undertaking good labor. St. Paisius Velichkovsky
The Ecclesiastical New Year is but a month away – please review your Stewardship commitments of Time, Talents & Treasures for the remainder of this year and 2019. Support your parish and ministries!
In the parable about the hirelings, even he who worked only one hour was rewarded equally to the others by the master of the house. The hours of the day in this parable is an image of the course of our life. The eleventh hour is the final time in this life. The Lord shows that even those who lived without working for Him up to that moment can start to work and please Him no less than others. Therefore, old age is no excuse; let no one despair, supposing that there is no point in starting to work. Start, and do not be cowardly; the Lord is merciful; He will give you all that He gives others, here, according to the measure of grace, and there, according to the rank of truth. Just have more fervour, and grieve more contritely about the carelessness in which almost all of your life was spent. You will say, the master of the house called those in the parable. So, let the Lord call me. But isn’t He calling? Could it really be that you do not hear the voice of the Lord in the Church, saying, come unto Me all ye, and the Apostles’ call, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God (II Cor. 5:20).
Without attentiveness in everyday affairs you cannot do anything properly; but in spiritual matters—it comes first. It notices what is bad and brings it before the inner judge; sets the guard of the inner chamber, where the best course of action is discussed, and then protects the one who carries out the decisions. This is not surprising, because the spiritual life in its fullness is called a sober life, and in patristic writings we meet mostly words about soberness or attentiveness, for they are one and the same. Therefore, how important it is to make a habit of attentiveness! The initial labor of those who have begun to be concerned about their souls is usually directed toward this. And their work only begins to resemble work from the point where attentiveness begins to be gathered within themselves; usually the attentiveness is all external, and not internal. From this moment the inner life is conceived and with this attentiveness it ripens and strengthens. What does this mean? It means standing with the mind in the heart before the Lord and consciously discussing all, and undertaking all before His face. This job, obviously, is complicated. It becomes successful with prayer, and is as much strengthened by it, as it strengthens prayer itself.
Even the Apostleship is called a ministry and every spiritual work is a ministry. It is also not enough to give but we must do it with munificence, for this always answers to the name of simplicity. It is not enough to show mercy , but it behooves us to do it with largeness and an ungrudging spirit, even with a cheerful and rejoicing one. He said ” He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully… in this way, the widow outweighed many talents by the two mites for her spirit was large.
St. John Chrysostom
Stewardship references Time, Talents & Treasures and unfortunately, many of the faithful believe that Treasures is all that matters. This isn’t the case… everyone has a different skill set and ability to define their income, however, each one of us has 24 hours in a day. How do we allocate our Time? Do we complete our morning & evening prayers? Do we read Scriptures? Do we stop to help a neighbor in need? Do we volunteer to serve at various ministries? Do we take the time to help an associate meet her deadline? Do we listen to Ancient Faith Radio during our commute? If we factor in work and sleep, we have an additional eight hours available per day – how are we using this time? Consider how you can give of your time to God and His ministries.
During a recent discussion, a leader of an Orthodox youth group said that the young adults are leaving the Church because they expect the Church, like Christ, to save the world! The next question was “How can the Church save the world?” One area that the Church can make an impact is through ministry. When we commit our Stewardship of Time, Talents and Treasures – we must remember that this is needed not just for the daily operation of our parish, but, for all of the ministries that the Church provides and supports! Let’s all commit to our youth and make an impact through our Stewardship!