On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 17: Standing in the Way

“He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” (Matthew 10:37 RSV)

Every earthly work and connection must find its place within the great work of the Church. In the lives of the followers of Christ, there must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to the will of God for every earthly attachment as was seen in Christ’s life. The claim of God on our lives must be first and foremost. For “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” Christ’s life is our life. We must put forth untiring, self-sacrificing effort for the good of others.

Christ offered His entire life as service to His Father on our behalf. He worked with untiring efforts to bring the straying into the fold. He spent hours, days, years preparing his disciples for both present and future service in the Kingdom. Have we followed in His footsteps? Have we ever exhausted ourselves in the service of Christ and His Holy Church?

In comparison to our Lord, how little we have done! And how much has that little been weakened by the great amount we have left undone? Or by the amount we have never undertaken or never brought to completion? How often are we overcome by our own limp disinterest? How often are we lured away to the selfish interests of this world, its entertainments and lurid temptations? Of course – it is more often than we would like to think about, and very much more often than we are willing to admit.

It is always our responsibility to examine our own lives, especially as we prepare for the Holy Mystery of Confession. Christ has set the standard very high: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” What are our attachments that keep us from giving all we have to God in His service? What have we placed in front of Him when we make our decisions on use of our time? Of our talents? Of our treasure?

These are the pressing questions that must be asked of every soul that belongs to Christ. Then the answers to those questions need, first of all, to be confessed and forgiven. Then a plan of action to overtake those things that block our lives in Christ must be put in place and followed.

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

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