On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 145: Unimaginable Potential (5/07/17)

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..” (Genesis 1:26  RSV)

What an amazing revelation we find in the first book of the First (Old) Testament.  God made us to be like Him!  Our potential is infinite, we have the potential to be sons and daughters of God!  God gave us rule over all creation that we might steward it, multiple it and give it back to God in gratitude.  Have we lived up to that unimaginable potential that God provide for us?

 You see, there is nothing that we cannot do if only we placed God as the center of our life.  Christ came to us healing the sick and the lepers, casting out demons and exposing injustice.  If only we could do that?  Newsflash, we can!  What you say?  What was Christ comment to the disciples after they had witnessed the healings and casting out of demons?  After giving them the new commandment, He tells them in John 14:12, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.”  Can you only imagine what potential we have?  To do works greater than what Christ has done!

So what limits us from using all the gifts that God has given us to do greater works than Jesus Christ?  In order to reach that unimaginable potential, we have to over a lifetime learn to be grateful.  We have to learn how to take the gifts God has given to us, multiply them and return them to God so that He may multiply them and give them back to us.  We have to learn to be the sons and daughters, the kings/queens and priests of creation and offer the creation which He gave us rule over back to the Creator as gift and thanksgiving.

We will never reach our full potential by being intoxicated by our own passions, desires and hungers.  We will never reach our full potential by being self-centered and ungrateful.  We were made in the image of God, each person is our brother or sister yet we do not treat all people in the same way, even though all were all made in the image of God.  In 1 John 4:20 we read, “If any one says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”  Ghandi had rephrased this passage in this way, “If you haven’t found God in the faces of those around you, don’t bother looking for Him anywhere else.”

We show our love for God by keeping His commandments. We received the fullness of grace at baptism along with the many gifts God has given us to live to the fullness of our potential.  St. Maximus the Confessor states, “Each of us possesses the manifest energy of the Spirit in proportion to the faith that is in him.  Each person thus is the steward of his own grace.”  And St. John Chrysostom further elaborates, “After God’s grace, everything depends on us and our application.”

If we don’t truly love God (we show this by disregarding His commandments), can we really expect to live to our full potential?  How many gifts has He given us that we will never realize when we don’t obey His commandments.  And if we don’t realize those gifts, how will that affect the body of Christ with whom we are commanded to share our gifts.  Will we ever reach our full potential?

 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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