Unprofitable servants!


"Unprofitable servants!"Thus speaks the Lord of life and Vanquisher of death:

"Can you increase your stature by a single cubit?2 Can you make a hair turn white or black?3 And when you cannot do what is least, why do you worry about the rest?

"The master of a house, who hires servants, gives them a field and tools and food. Even so does the Heavenly Father provide for His servants!

"Unprofitable servants, God gives you the strength to serve; and it is not even you who serve, but God who serves through you.

"If you could perform a single good service without God, you would be gods, and God would not exist.

"If you could take a single life, and resurrect a single dead man, without God's presence, you would be gods and God would not exist.

"When you perform all your service, it is God who has performed the service, and it is you who are the unprofitable servants."

I said to my feet: "You do not walk by your own power;" and to my hands: "You do not create by your own power;" and to my nerves: "You do not sense by your own power;" and I said to my mind: "You do not reason by your own power."

Nor can all my caution lead me through a single night alive. Nor can all my toil add a single installment to my lifetime.

And to bread I said: "It is not you who nourish me, but the One who invisibly enters into me with you." And to light I said: "It is not you who illuminate me, but the One from whom even you have borrowed luminosity."

Sons of men, you are all unprofitable servants. Elements of nature, you are all unprofitable servants. Suns, stars and moons, you are all unprofitable servants.

All your service is in vain, unless someone stronger than you provides it.

All your promises are illusions, unless someone wealthier fulfills them.

All your cares are like thorns, that you sow in your way. They do not bring down rain, but make a drought more severe. They do not increase life, but amass weakness.

Unprofitable servants, convert your cares into prayers, just as ice is converted into flowing water, and you will reap an unexpected harvest. Pray to the Lord of the harvest, and then you will understand how vain and ruinous your cares were.

What does it profit for a shepherd's pipe to worry about how it will play? All its worries will not produce a single sound until a player places his mouth on it.

Look upon yourself as nothing; lay claim to nothing -- and everything will be given to you.4

And after you will have done so, you will sense that you are ceasing to be unprofitable servants and that you are becoming sons and heirs of a father. And the Father will clothe you in the gold and purple of His glory.

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1. Matt. 25:30 and Luke 17:10.
2. Matt. 6:27.
3. Matt. 5:36.
4. Matt. 6:33.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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