On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 123: A Purposeful Life (12/4/16)

“for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1Corinthians 16: 9 RSV)

The early Christians who accepted the Gospel were expected to change their lives. They were signing onto something that required their total loyalty. Fr. Michael Kiser in his book, Spread the Word, says “they were to become holy in the truest sense of the word – set apart from the world around them, living by different priorities from the rest of their community.”  But why?

The early Christians conquered the known world in less than three hundred years.  How did they do this when they were under constant persecution?  They did it by leading purpose filled lives.  They spread the Gospel to all who would listen.  Is that not what Christ told the first Church, the Seventy?  He told them to go throughout the world spreading the word.  They devoted their time and talents to what the Church is all about, telling people to repent, let go of your sins, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit in chrismation.  Is that our approach to evangelism (outreach) today?

How do we use our lives, our time and our talents that God gave us to spread the word of God?  Do we spread the word of God or do we believe that that is what the priest should do, not us? 

As Paul stated in the scripture above, “the door is wide” there is great opportunity for us to use our talents and time to outreach to the community, to fill our Churches with souls full of the Holy Spirit, and they will in turn want to tell others.  But, Paul warns, “there are many adversaries.”  This secular world is full of mediocrity, people that do not want to be disturbed, disrupted or challenged.  They are satisfied with a mediocre life without God and attempt to criticize you and make fun of you because you trust in God and what He has promised.  As a consequence you go through life coming to liturgy and going home.  The liturgy is something you should take home, live every day of your life and enjoying telling others of this precious gift that you have!

But you may say: it is not easy reaching out to the community; it takes work! Yes, you are correct. It does take work.  The adage, “Nothing worth doing is going to be easy” applies here.  Don’t listen to the “naysayers.”  Don’t listen to those who say, “We never did it that way before!”  Fr. Barnabus Powell, GOA, states, “Opportunity when the vision is great rejects the fear of failure”.  Be Orthodox on purpose.  Lead a purposeful life.  Lead others to Christ through Orthodoxy by using your time and talents that God has gifted you with in this life!

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

Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.

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