Armodoxy for Today: Goals

The entrepreneurial spirit was defined yesterday by risk. The parable of the talents, offered by Jesus (Matthew 25), illustrated the importance of risking talents and resources with which God has entrusted you. We ended yesterday by pointing to the prize, which was the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not enough to work or labor unless the goal is worthy of that toil and effort.  The goal of our efforts must always be in our focus.

Goals may be devious. In the parable of the talents, it is easy to assume that the monetary riches are the goal of their managerial skills, but on closer inspection, it is obvious that the monetary amount is the reward, and not the goal itself.

With the world in turmoil and with fighting close to home, it is imperative that we zoom in on the goal that sits before us. Jesus sets it as the “Kingdom of Heaven.” This is not a place or a time to come, but in Orthodox understanding, it was enacted with Jesus. It is a state of mind. It is, within and without us. It is, as Jesus says, “…Like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

When our efforts and actions have purpose beyond the temporal plane, meaning comes to our life.

Today, there is a blockade of food and medical supplies to the Armenian population of Artsakh. The government of Azerbaijan has targeted the Armenians for annihilation, in other words, they are in the  process of committing the second Armenian Genocide. Like the expressive monkeys – see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil – the world has closed its eyes, ears and mouth to the plight of the Armenians.

So, what now?

Today, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Primate of the Western Diocese will announce a 24 hour fast for solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Artsakh. This is a simple effort by which a huge goal can be accomplished by a small group of people. It is an effort in which everyone can participate. Most importantly, the goal of the effort benefits others. Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13) It is in sacrifice that love is revealed and the Cross as the symbol of suffering transforms to the symbol of Love. Make the connection with the Parable of the Talents and now we understand that if the end goal is the Kingdom of Heaven, then it is expressed by the love we have for one another.

Tomorrow we will look at the power of fasting to overcome the worst evil. For today, accept the challenge to fast. (*The fast will be announced at 5PM PDT, at the Azerbaijan consulate in West Los Angeles.) Obstain from eating for 24 hours. It’s hopeful to expect that the Azeris will have a change of heart because of your fasting, but have no worries, because something remarkable will happen as a result of your fasting. You will have a change of heart. You will understand the power that is within you to bring about change. You will not need to look elsewhere for solutions that are within you. The Kingdom has been enacted!

We pray the prayer that the Lord Jesus taught us,

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours in the kingdom and the power and the glory. Amen.

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