My Beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
One of the key virtues that helps us in doing good deeds is the virtue of contentment. St. Paul the apostle in his 1st epistle to St. Timothy says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1Tim 6:6-9. St. Paul differentiates between being wealthy which is a blessing from God, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” 1Tim.6:17
The Christian person whom God blessed with wealth enjoys it when it is used to glorify God and help others. God does not want us to live in need, but He fulfills our needs. The church dedicates a special litany for the waters of the rivers, the seeds, the herbs and plants of the field and the air of heaven, and a special litany for our material needs, we pray: “Bless the crown of the year with Your goodness for the poor of Your people, for the widow, the orphan, the traveler, the stranger, and for the sake of all of us who entreat You and seek Your holy name, for the eyes of everyone wait upon You, for You give them their food in due season. Deal with us according to Your goodness, O You who give food to all flesh fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that we too, having sufficiency always may abound in every good deed.”
There is a difference between living a good life in which we feel that God is fulfilling all our needs, and living a luxurious life indulging in worldly lusts, seeking riches by all means, which leads us into a trap and many harmful and foolish lusts. For example:
- A person’s heart gets conceited and forgets God, the Grantor of all gifts, as Hosea the prophet said, “When they had pasture, they were filled; They were filled, and their heart was exalted; Therefore, they forgot Me.” Hos.13:6
- A person can easily indulge in a life of luxury and forget his needy brethren. In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man forgot there was a sick and needy person lying at his door. What was the consequence? The rich man fell in eternal suffering: “So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Lu. 16:22-24 Abraham did not answer to the request of the rich man because it was too late, but told him, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” Lu. 16:25 While he was alive, the rich man shut his ears to the cries and pains of poor Lazarus, so the saying of the Book of Proverbs applied to him, “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” Prov.21:13 Also the warning of St. James applies to him, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and our garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire, you have heaped up treasure in the last days.” Jm. 5:1-3. The rich man gathered treasures, but his richness did not benefit him, but was rather a witness to his hardened heart towards poor Lazarus who was tormented, so the fire “will eat your flesh like fire”.
- Harmful and foolish lusts; the story of the rich foolish man illustrates how a person seeking riches falls in many harmful and foolish lusts. Our Lord Christ said in the parable of the rich fool to warn against the danger of greed and that a person can forget that his life is temporary. God granted this rich man a blessing to fertilize his world so he didn’t think wise but thought of himself saying: “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops? So, he said “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink and be merry.”” Lu.12:17-19 He thought of himself only and did not think of others – the needy – and thought he had a long life to enjoy his savings, thus he deserved what God told him, ‘”You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Lu. 12:20 The riches inflicted him in many foolish and harmful lusts. He lost the good things of the earth and eternal bliss; therefore, Jesus said a comment on this parable “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” Lu. 12:21
My beloved, God granted us many blessings, not to treasure them for ourselves, but to do good deeds with them, to be truly rich toward God remembering what St. James the apostle said, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”Jm.4:17
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