Blessed is he who knows in truth that we are but tools in God's hands; that it is God who effects within us all ascetical practice and contemplation, virtue and spiritual knowledge, victory and wisdom, goodness and truth; and to all this we contribute nothing at all except a disposition that desires what is good. Zerubbabel had this disposition when he said to God: 'Blessed art Thou who hast given me wisdom; I give thanks to Thee, O Lord of our fathers; from Thee comes victory and wisdom; and Thine is the glory and I am Thy servant" (1 Esd. 4::59-60). As a truly grateful servant he ascribed all things to God, who had given him everything. He possessed wisdom as a gift from God and attributed to Him as Lord of his fathers the efficacy of the blessings bestowed on him. These blessings are, as we have said, the union of victory and wisdom, virtue and spiritual knowledge, ascetic practice and contemplation, goodness and truth. For when these are united together they shine with a single divine glory and brightness.
All the achievements of the saints were clearly gifts of grace from God. None of the saints had the least thing other than goodness granted to him by the Lord God according to the measure of his gratitude and love. And what he acquired, he acquired only in so far as he surrended himself to the Lord who bestowed it. - St. Maximos the Confessor, *Third Century on Various Texts* #28, 29