On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 107: Gifts.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3: 16 RSV)

What a gift God has given us, eternal life! Glory to God!

Eternity is a long time, certainly much longer than our current life, and we can be with Him - or perhaps not. It is our choice to make.

God gave us this time, here and now, to prepare us for eternal life in His kingdom. He gave us TIME! He also gave us skills, abilities, and talents, so that we could not only find our way to Him but to provide assistance to others - to love others.

Have you ever wondered why God gave us such extraordinary talents?  Do you believe it was so that we could amass wealth and live in the “lap of luxury?” Or are our talents destined for a more useful purpose?

What is our purpose here on earth?  I recall once hearing in a past homily, “There are two important days in your life, the day you were born and the day that you found out why!”  Do you know why you were born? Do you know why God blessed you with life, gave you skills unique to only you, and made you so unique that there is nobody quite like you? 

I believe that God made us unique and gave each of us special talents so that we have to help others develop their skills, and they may also help others, etc. Help others do what? Obtain eternal salvation through Jesus Christ! That is our only purpose here in this life, to attain Theosis, continuous communion with God. We were not given our life and talents to squander on earthly things. When we do that, we fall into the passion of self-love, loving material things before loving God. 

Does that mean that we cannot possess material things and enjoy life? Absolutely not! God wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labors as we read in both the Old and New Testaments. But, He does not want us to become slaves to the material passions of this world, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”  (Matthew 6: 24 RSV).

God has blessed each and every one of us with TIME and extraordinary TALENTS.  Let us give back to God in proportion to what He has so graciously given us.  Let us give to the church ministries at a very minimum ten percent of our free time and the talents we possess by the grace of God.  Let us prepare ourselves for the greatest gift God has for us, eternal life!

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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