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Ministry Involves Our Support

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by Chris Andreas

The following sermon has been provided by the Department of Stewardship Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister." (Heb. 6:10)


Wild beasts, crucifixions, tortures, burnings, enslavement by outside conquerors: all grim reminders of the trials and tribulations the Holy Orthodox Church has faced throughout history. Even in these modern, difficult times the devil is still hard at work constantly employing every possible trick to draw us away from truth. We see secular, un-Christian values ever increasing in strength resulting in a falling away from our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings and His Church.

Yet under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church throughout her history has always withstood these harsh and critical tests, then rebounded and flourished. "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it," (Matt 16:18). Indeed, the Church and the faith of her children seem to be strengthened during times of persecution. History has shown repeatedly that through the faith, strength and commitment of her faithful, the Church has always maintained her enduring steadfastness. Never to be denied, she actively maintains her growth and strength through the spreading of the Gospel truths and through the caring and nurturing of her children. Whether these children are six months old, six years or sixty years of age, they are still the Church's children who are nurtured and cared for by their mother.
In a very real way, the Church does behave as a true mother raising her offspring. A mother nurtures her children when they are young feeding them the bread and milk of life. She, as the keeper and steward of the household, teaches them how to behave and how to worship. She teaches them responsibility as they continually grow toward adulthood. In part, as a result of the mother's efforts, they are eventually enabled to assume leadership responsibilities of their own. In the same manner, the Church acts as our true mother. She teaches us our beliefs; she admonishes us in our behavior. Successful upbringing results in our becoming responsible enough to eventually acquire leadership roles within society and church communities. And all of this is accomplished through her ministries.

Ministries are an extremely important aspect of church life. They are the vehicles through which the Church accomplishes her mission to the world and whereby she exemplifies her Stewardship. Jesus said, "Go ye...and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). This becomes possible only through her ministries. When we speak about love, worship, salvation, help and education, etc, all are done through ministries.

What do ministries involve? They involve our personal Stewardship, our love, faith, hard work, sometimes a humble sort of professionalism, and quite often, financial support. This is true whether we speak of ministries at the local or national levels. Without these very integral aspects, we would have no ministries; we would have no support groups, either at the pastoral or lay levels; we would have no youth programs, no GOYA, no Sunday Church School, nor scouting programs; we would have no Sacraments, no counseling; in short, we would have no Church.

What do our love, faith, hard work, professionalism and financial support embody? They embody selfless giving, selfless sacrifice. Whether we work in the local parish, or with the Diocese or the Archdiocese, or even within the world in general, we give of our time always utilizing the talents that Almighty God has given us. We give of our financial resources, whether into the general funds, or directly into those of ministries that are close to our hearts. Sometimes we may even pick up the tabs for a trip or an important event. We do so not begrudgingly, but lovingly and cheerfully.

We read in 2 Cor. 9:6-8, "...He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance for every good work." We also read of the results and rewards of our Stewardship, "You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the Gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others; while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift." (2 Cor. 9:11-15)

These are powerful messages. Within our churches we have the ability to serve in anyone of many ministries: Sunday Church School program, the scouting and Orthodox youth programs, in the Ladies Philoptochos, as members of the Choir, or as Altar Boys alongside our Pastors during holy services. Sometimes we are called upon to assist those who are in dire need of help, whether financially or morally, or to support the church purely in a financial way. Wherever it may be, it is through ministries such as these that the Church, both at the local and national levels, flourishes and continues to grow both in Spirit and in numbers.



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