The Stewardship of Time

st-john-cassian-3When men consecrate their first and earliest thoughts as their divine offerings, what are they doing indeed but rendering their firstfruits of their produce through the High Priest, Jesus Christ for the enjoyment if this life and a figure of the daily resurrection… And this kind of devotion many even of those who live in the world observe with the utmost care, as they rise before it is light to consecrate in the sight of God the firstfruits of all their actions and doings. St. John Cassian

When we rise, our morning prayers are a Stewardship commitment of Time.

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Stewardship Calling – January 31, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. Central – Ancient Faith Radio

Stewardship-Calling-new-03-10-14-2Why are you here? What is the purpose of your life? What can you do to make a difference? What will you do after you retire? What vocation/job will make you happiest? If you are interested in these or similar questions, you’ll appreciate the exploration of a personal G.P.S. – GOD Positioning System to help guide you on your journey.

This Sunday, January 31st, please tune in to Ancient Faith Radio – Live Internet Radio Call-In 5th Sunday Stewardship Calling Program from 8:00 p.m.to 9:30 p.m. (Eastern). Join me, and my special guest and co-host Father Barnabas Powell, as we discuss the 3 essential first steps you need to take in order to begin your journey, and the 3 critical questions you need to answer to discern and live your calling.

Learn how to discover what you are Good at, what you are Passionate about, and what makes you Smile; hence the G.P.S. acronym. Tune in at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and start (or make progress on) your journey toward your God-given calling.

You can download a PowerPoint outline for “G.P.S. Sunday Part 1- Using a GOD Positioning System (G.P.S.) to navigate 6 steps to discover and live your calling at: http://stewardshipcalling.com/internet-radio/ under the January 31, 2016 heading, and please tune in at: http://www.ancientfaith.com/radio/live 

And no worries if you miss the live program, because you can listen to it later as it will be recorded and archived. Feel free to tell your family and friends, and we’d love it if you would join us by calling in to the program at 1-855-AFRADIO  (1-855- 237-2346).

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St. John Chrysostom regarding the measure of Christ’s gift

john-chrysostom-01

“But unto each one of us was the grace given.”

What then? he saith, whence are those diverse spiritual gifts? For this subject was continually carrying away both the Ephesians themselves, and the Corinthians, and many others, some into vain arrogance, and others into despondency or envy. Hence he everywhere takes along with him this illustration of the body. Hence it is that now also he has proposed it, inasmuch as he was about to make mention of diverse gifts. He enters indeed into the subject more fully in the Epistle to the Corinthians, because it was among them that this malady most especially reigned: here however he has only alluded to it. And mark what he says: he does not say, “according to the faith of each,” lest he should throw those who have no large attainments into despondency. But what saith he? “According to the measure of the gift of Christ.” The chief and principal points of all, he saith,-Baptism, the being saved by faith, the having God for our Father, our all partaking of the same Spirit,-these are common to all. If then this or that man possesses any superiority in any spiritual gift, grieve not at it; since his labor also is greater. He that had received the five talents, had five required of him; whilst he that had received the two, brought only two, and yet received no less a reward than the other. And therefore the Apostle here also encourages the hearer on the same ground, showing that gifts are bestowed not for the honor of one above another, but for the work of the church, even as he says further on:

“For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministering unto the building up of the body of Christ.”

Hence it is that even he himself saith, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.” (1 Cor. ix. 16.) For example: he received the grace of Apostleship, but for this very reason, “woe unto him,” because he received it: whereas thou art free from the danger.

“According to the measure.”

What is meant by, “according to the measure”? It means, “not according to our merit,” for then would no one have received what he has received: but of the free gift we have all received. And why then one more, and another less? There is nothing to cause this, he would say, but the matter itself is indifferent; for every one contributes towards “the building.” And by this too he shows, that it is not of his own intrinsic merit that one has received more and another less, but that it is for the sake of others, as God Himself hath measured it; since he saith also elsewhere, “But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased Him.” (1 Cor. xii. 18.) And he mentions not the reason, lest he should deject or dispirit the hearers.

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Scriptures that focus on Stewardship

orthodox2Hebrews 7:1-6

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

Mark 12:38-44

38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation. 41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.

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Finish the race!

Timothy
2 Timothy 7-8
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
When we reflect on the past year and plan for the new, many of us create our lists, discuss our resolutions and develop plans to carry out these goals and objectives. But remember to include the Spirituality of Stewardship in your daily activities. Have you fought the good fight by battling the passions that challenge you? Will you prepare to finish the race emphasizing your personal salvation through prayer, Scriptures and attending the Divine Liturgy? Have you kept the faith by following the Commandments, setting a positive example for those you live and work with and focusing on your Orthodox foundation?
What’s in store for you ? – possibly, the completion of many goals and success with your resolutions but remember what matters most is Life in His Eternal Kingdom! Glory be to God!
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Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

st_dorotheos_gazaAll that is done in accord with the commandments: to love one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to give alms and the like… is well pleasing to God not when a man acts mercifully on account of some human consideration but because the act is good in itself. The thing is perfect when a man gives alms without meanness or reluctance, without despising the recipient, giving freely as if he were receiving, doing a kindness as graciously as if a kindness were shown to him.

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The Gift of Christmas

Our very thanksgiving for this Gift of Christ becomes a life of Stewardship-of caring for this Gift that is not our own. We care for this Gift of Communion with Him by living a life in which we dedicate all that we are-our Time, our Talents, and our Treasures-to God in thanksgiving for all that He has done for us. Thus, when we offer ourselves to the Church, our offering is no longer considered to be “in support” of our local parish, but as an offering of Thanksgiving to God. Our offering is then utilized by God in whatever manner He sees fit, unto His Glory.

Therefore, as we can see, the only way to care for this Gift of Christ which God so freely gives to us on this, His Nativity, is to place the whole of creation in its proper context. It is a gift, created by God and freely given to us-for which we are to continuously give thanks. We are never to place more importance on the created world than we do on God. This is what the Gift of Our Lord’s Incarnation reveals to us. This is what it means to fulfill a relationship with God in Christ. A relationship into which we are all called, that will enable us to participate in the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit both now, and forever! Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

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