Freely you have received. Freely give
"Freely You Have Received. Freely Give."
This time of year we often hear people around the church talking about stewardship and we generally understand this to mean making our offering to help support the church. There is a lot of talk about the treasures and talents we have received and the importance of giving back to God.
One of the greatest treasures we have received is our Orthodox Christian Faith and Tradition that guides our worship and our entire life.
In the parable of the talents, the master gives parts of his treasure to three of his servants and goes away on a long trip. Upon his return, he asks each of his servants to account for what they have done with their part of his treasure. To those who took the treasure and multiplied it, the master said, "Well done good and faithful servant."
At the end of the parable, Jesus says, "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded (Luke 12:48)."
We have received the great treasure of Orthodox Christianity, and we are not supposed to hide our treasure, but rather to share it with others. One way Orthodox Christians share their faith is to go on foreign missions to foreign countries where we teach people about our faith and help them to build churches, orphanages, schools, hospitals and more. These missions can be for a few weeks and sometimes for years. Maybe some of you will become missionaries some day, going to Guatemala, Mexico, Africa, China, or some other place to share the treasure of Orthodox Christianity.
We can also be missionaries here in our own church, our school, our work and every place we go in our daily lives. And it doesn't mean that we talk about our faith all the time. It means that we live according to what Jesus taught, and set a Christian example to people in our lives.
Don't be afraid or force yourself to do something that is difficult for you. God has blessed you with many gifts. He will put people in your path. And if you let Him, he will use you in ways you never imagined to share your faith.
Our duty, as we read in the First Epistle of Peter, is to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls us to account for the hope and faith that is in us."
You can say this prayer to ask God to help you to serve Him: "Dear Lord Jesus, I put my life in your hands. Use me in whatever way you see fit. Use the talents with which you have blessed me. I will always give the glory for my accomplishments to you, the source of all my blessings."
the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, "Freely you have received. Freely
give." We have all received many gifts from God -- abilities, special
talents, material comforts. As Orthodox Christians it is our
responsibility to offer them back to God for his purposes. And if we
do, then we can expect that when the time comes for Jesus, the Master,
to return, He will say to us, "Well done good and faithful servant."