A beautiful message from Fr. Rodney:
Valuing the Time of Life
V. Rev. Stavrophor Rodney Torbic
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8-To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Our lives are to conform to the purpose and timeliness of God. Our lives are to be an effort reaching toward God and being in unison with God. We come into this world by the grace of God.
God is at work as to where and when our birth occurs. God is at work in the functioning of our minds and bodies. God is at work in giving us the power and resources to make choices.
The time of life is a gift from God. The way the time of life is used reflects the extent we appreciate God. The more we live in conformity to the ways of God, the more we show our appreciation to God.
The ways of God are known through coming to God’s Holy Church. In God’s Holy Church, we hear and learn of the ways of God. We learn to pray and experience communal prayer in God’s Holy Church.
We learn of the lives of the saints in God’s Holy Church. We hear the direct teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ in God’s Holy Church. We learn of the value of the Holy Prophets in God’s Holy Church.
In the Holy Scriptures, the lessons of God are present for each generation until the Second Coming of Christ. Each moment of time being lived is the only time of certainty involving personal choice.
Time that is past cannot be relived. Time in the future is not guaranteed for each person. The moment of each person’s last breath is not known. The time of the Second Coming of Christ is not known.
Each moment of life is to be used wisely and cherished as a gift of God. The example of the thief on the Cross turning to Christ at the last moment of his life showed clearly that a final act for Christ can make a difference.
The thief appealing to Christ with the utmost respect heard these words from Jesus: “ Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.(Lk.23-42-43)
The good thief on the cross demonstrated the value of reaching out to Christ.
Discerning the will of God and the wisdom of God requires attentiveness. The good thief on the cross was attentive to Christ. The good thief perceived the important difference in Christ. The thief’s perception made a lasting difference.
The way we think about God and respond to God makes a lasting difference in our lives. The way we relate with the Lord Jesus Christ has a lasting effect for us.
Psalm 89/90:12-So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
The Psalmist speaks about the length of life generally to be expected. (Ps.89/90:10) The Psalmist speaks about the orientation for life to make the most of it.
Blessed Augustine commented on this Psalm.
Blessed Augustine stated: “Depart not from the path of God, and become not runaways from Him.” Personal and corporate prayers are essential for remaining on the path of God. Repentance and confession are necessary to return to the path.
The words of the Psalmist are reminders that earthly life is time limited. Seeking wisdom has great value. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks about eternal life and there are few who will come to experience it.(Mt.7:13-14)
The way the time of each day is used determines if the wisdom of God is of primary interest to each person. Individuals exposed to the teachings of the Holy Gospel are accountable for what they know and are expected to learn.
Being a Christian brings with it the responsibility to following the teaching and way of Christ. The Creed is expressed at Holy Baptism. The Creed is expected to be manifested in the life of the believer.
The Creed is not only a profession of faith. The Creed is a guide and standard for daily life. Decisions made by professed Christians should conform to and follow the basic tenets of the Creed.
Believers taking the commitment to the Creed seriously will strive daily to adhere to the content. Nourishment for remaining on the path to God comes from the Holy Scriptures. Nourishment comes from listening to and reading the Gospel.
More than nourishment is needed to adhere to the ways of God. Believers need to exercise their minds. God is to be looked for in daily prayer and daily life. Serious believers will draw closer to God in the services of the Church.
Unity with Christ is best experienced in the Holy Mysteries of the Church. Believers do well to prepare themselves for the Holy Mysteries. Believers do well to avail themselves of the Holy Mysteries.
Much about God is beyond human comprehension. Much about God is available to learn in God’s Holy Church. According to personal ability, each person does well to draw near to God and learn.
The hunger of the soul is satisfied in drawing near to God. Peace comes to the person drawing near to God in search of wisdom. The heart is central to the pursuit of wisdom.
The Lord said: “ For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”(Mt.6:21) Hearts treasuring the wisdom of God have transforming power.(Mt.5:8)
Matthew 6:23-The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
Individuals have choices as to where they are going in life and what they are searching for in life. The eye is the guide. The heart and mind are involved in control of the effort.
If the person is looking for God and unity with God, the person will search for the path of God. The person will follow the teachings of God. The more serious the search, the more God will be found and experienced.
Individuals looking for the glory and majesty of God will find them readily. Behold the mountains and hills greatly adorned and meditate on the Creator. Consider the diversity of animals and plant life and be amazed at the Creator.
Consider the human body and express great wonder to the Creator. Give thanks to the Giver of life. Be appreciative of the joys of life. Express thanks to God for the opportunity to learn about life and to have life.
The Cross of Christ and Resurrection of Christ are the fundamental guide posts on the compass for life. Be enlightened by the Transfiguration of Christ. Be renewed with each celebration of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan.
Immerse yourself in understanding the purity of the Mother of God and the significance of her having been chosen among all women of all centuries to be visited by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Christ Child.(Lk 1:35)
Give heed to the words in Genesis about the creation of the heavens and the earth and all within them.(Gen.1:1-2:1) Always be attentive to the words foretelling of Christ’s return.(Mt.25:1-46)
The time between a person’s birth and departure from this life deserves always to be viewed in the context of God giving life. God gives the breath. God gives the ability for motion of the body. God gives the senses of the body.
Each person determines what he or she gives to God in appreciation for life.
Each person has different gifts. Each person has different abilities. The sincerity of giving to God matters the most.
The Lord Jesus Christ’s words describing the poor widow giving all she had is a lesson for the centuries. The widow put her last two mites in the treasury and became an example of giving approved by the Lord Jesus Christ.(Mk.12:41-44)
Distractions appear along the path of life. Keeping the eye on the Lord Jesus Christ is of utmost importance. Returning to the path leading to the Kingdom of God comes through repentance and confession.
The Lord welcomes returning sinners. Despair has no place in the Christian life. Jesus said: “ Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”(Lk.15:7)
Prepared for Adult Class. St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. Venearable Dometius, Martyr.
Venerable Or. August 7/20, 2013 Father Rodney Torbic