Last week FOCUS traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese Convention. This year’s convention was packed full of prayer services, workshops, meetings, reflections, and of course – fellowship. It was a beautiful event to witness. Many were wondering: how did the community of St. Nicholas so flawlessly pull off hosting such an ordeal? Of course, those of us who are familiar with event planning know it was no simple feat…but there is one simple answer that can help sum up why everything came together in the end:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” –Philippians 4:13

Conveniently, this verse was the theme of the entire conference. Put into action, this verse is the reason why the conference (or anything we do for that matter) was a success. When we all seek strength from God and ask Him to help us share our unique talents for His glory, amazing things tend to happen!

“Not everyone has the same gifts and talents, but when we all offer our gifts and talents to God for His glory, something beautiful happens. This is what the Church is – many different members coming together in love and humility, laying aside our egos and own agendas to discover what God wants, and then to do what God is calling us to do.”


When the faithful at St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids were called to host the Archdiocese Convention, many different people came together and put their talents into action. What resulted was a conference that served as a beautiful witness to the Orthodox Church, shared with thousands of faithful Orthodox Christian clergy, laity, and seekers.

We all know the old saying “sharing is caring” – but how can we take this mantra beyond a simple reminder and apply it to our lives in a way that is pleasing to God?

First, we have to search our souls and ask God to reveal to us what our talents are. Then it often takes hard work, bravery, commitment, and vulnerability to use those talents towards sharing something with the world that matters. Most importantly, when we share our talents, we must do so in a way that offers glory back to God (not ourselves)!

Across the country from Grand Rapids in Orange County CA, Sophia, a young volunteer was serving meals this summer with her family. Passing out meals is a simple task that is easily accomplished by most people. But, for Sophia this task became an opportunity to serve through sharing her musical talents – bringing extra joy to those around her! (See video)

What talents do you have that you can use to glorify God and serve His creation? In what areas of your life can you put these talents to use? Instead of shying away, let’s all challenge ourselves to put our unique gifts to work by taking action, big or small. When we do, beautiful things will happen!

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