Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday in the octave of the Epiphany

Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ, 

This friday is still a day in the Octave of the Epiphany. You recall how the three wise men brought gifts to Jesus to honour Him. That was a long time ago, but in the Church of today we are still looking for our stewardship. We still invite people to use their talents, Listen to St. Paul exhorting his young protégé Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6-7 NIV), "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

"To fan into flame" is like poking among the ashes in a fire-pit to find a glowing ember so you can reignite the morning fire. It’s as if St. Paul speaks to us through Timothy, "I’m reminding you to stir up the ashes off the God-given gifts and talents that already are within you. You have within you a spirit of power, not of cowardice or timidity."

 As we get older, we become more subtle but no less adept at getting people to notice us and what we have to offer. The sad truth is that many of us do not believe that we have many gifts and the one we are really trying to impress is ourselves. Surrounded by advertising, we are constantly bombarded by perfect smiles, perfect hair and perfect waistlines, all of which contribute to our poor self image. We find ourselves saying, "If only I could draw like that, speak like that, play sports like that." Deep down we are not at all convinced that we have anything worthwhile to offer the world, nothing with which to make a difference. 

Stewardship as a way of life involves us in an ever-deepening awareness of all that God has given to each and everyone of us. 
Are you able to list your talents, which you can use for God now ? 

Hopefully it took you a long time to make a list of all your abilities and gifts. Every person reading this article has far too many to count. Our provident God makes sure of that. And when we really believe this basic stewardship principle, we begin to live a life of sheer gratitude and security, knowing that we have all that we need in life for complete happiness. Furthermore, the petty jealousies and the stress of competition ebb away and we find ourselves actually delighting in the talents of others, complimenting their accomplishments and rejoicing in their successes. We come to understand the meaning of St. Paul's insight that all of our gifts work together for the glory of God. As the Body of Christ, each of us contributes our unique gifts to make the whole Church complete and rich in talent. We complement each other as we together compliment God!

Of course, this reality demands that we accept the gifts God had given us, grateful for their uniqueness in each of us. It also implies that we share them with the whole Church, indeed the whole world, so that our talents might become part of the whole and hence be truly efficacious. Failing to acknowledge our gifts or failing to share them means that we will not be satisfied and the Church will not benefit from God's plan wherein we all work together as one people, giving thanks to the giver of all our gifts.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Father Ed Bakker 
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province 
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne 
Bendigo Australia 

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