On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 36: Talents II

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 RSV)

Among the many things that God has lent to us for use in our lifetime here on earth are our talents. The word “talent” comes into the English language from the original Greek word that meant a sum of money, a denomination of coin – like a silver dollar. Today the word means an aptitude or a skill. Like all the other gifts that are ours only by the love and generosity of God, talents have been lent to us by God. We have borrowed them for this life for one purpose: to help prepare us and the Christian community for the next life.

It may be a new and different way to look at “talents,” but in keeping with the original (and Biblical) use of the word talent, consider the following:

Speech is a talent. Of all the gifts lent to us by God, the ability to speak should be most appreciated. It is through the gift of speech that the glory and love of God is proclaimed. But it is the same talent that can be used to pour scorn on the Church, its people, and the world in general. The use of the talent of speech to speak ill of others is far from its intended use. Also the use of speech to speak an untruth, to spread propaganda, or to gossip is certainly not being a good steward or caretaker of that which has been lent to us. God owns our speech. Whatever we say is a reflection of Him!

Strength is a talent. We can serve God and His people far better in good health than not. Caring for our bodies in cooperation with the Owner of our bodies is vital. The Church’s teaching on fasting is not simply an exercise of “giving up something” as much as it is caring for our bodily health by refraining from eating certain things at particular times. Our Church Fathers teach clearly that a healthy soul, a soul that lives in prayerful communion with Christ and His Church, will create a healthy body.

Influence is a talent. The dictionary definition of influence is: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. We all know who has had a good effect on our lives as Christians. We also know who has been a bad influence. As a steward of the gift of influence, we must always remember that people around us are always watching. What do they see? Do they see self-control? Do they see self-denial? Do they see the love of Christ overflowing? Or do they see self-indulgence? Do they see an “I don’t care” attitude about the Church? The influence of a holy life is felt at home and everywhere else.

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

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