On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 121: Almsgiving (11/20/16)
“But give for alms those things that are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.” (Luke 11:41 RSV)
The above verse deals with Jesus scolding the Pharisees who complained that Jesus did not wash his hands before eating which was the Jewish custom. Jesus calls them “fools” because they did not understand that God made us wholly - within and outwardly. What did he mean? The Pharisees put on an outward show of piety but were dead on the inside.
Do we imitate the Pharisees? Do we say we love Christ and our neighbor but do nothing to help them, standing idly by as they slip deeper into secularism and sin? Where is the almsgiving that we promised to give to our neighbors?
Almsgiving, eleemosune in Greek, means mercy, pity, charity, to show one’s compassion. Do we take the time to help our neighbor, show compassion and be charitable? Giving alms is not just about money, it is about taking the time to care about your neighbor, being a steward of the gift of time God has given you. Unfortunately, many of us are preoccupied - with watching our favorite TV program, sporting event or other secular activities - and fail to give time to save another’s soul.
Those precious few minutes, hours or days that you give to someone in need may show them the true nature of God within you and be the spark that brings them to Christ and Orthodoxy. God gave you the gift of time not to squander but to use for the benefit of your salvation and the salvation of others. Be a good steward of your time and give the alms that are within you!
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.
Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.
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