On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 126: Do We Suffer From Pleonexia? (12/25/16)

“For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36 RSV)

Today we celebrate the glorious birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  On this day, “God became man so that man could become god,” so said St. Athanasius.  God gave us, on this day, the greatest gift of all in His Son, for our eternal life, for salvation.  God gave then and continues to give and give and give.

But what about us, do we give?  Do we imitate our Creator given that we were born in the likeness of God?  Or, do we suffer instead from PLEONEXIA?  What, I have no such disease you say!  Well, don’t be too quick to answer.  Pleonexia is derived from the Greek and means “the desire to have more.”  The English equivalent is greed, although that is not a good translation of the Greek.  A better translation is avarice or covetousness.  OOPS, are those, not sins?

Pleonexia is an addiction much as drunkenness and drug use.  It is difficult to control.   As a matter of fact, most authorities believe that one does not choose to be an addict, the addiction does the choosing.  Experts tell us that to have more lies at the heart of modern civilization.  We often measure ourselves not by well-being but by financial or material growth.  “This has become the ‘spirituality’ of our culture,” states Fr. Stephen Freeman in his blog “Glory to God for all Things.”  Thus we find ourselves not only desiring more but powerless to desire less.

How do we break this addiction to wanting more?  Well, Holy Scripture tells us that the way to God, to eternal life, and salvation is to empty ourselves.  We do this by forming a new addiction, GIVING!  Giving of our time, talents and treasure until we find ourselves powerless to give less.  Those who have given cheerfully, and freely of what God has given them and without seeking something in return will tell you how wonderful that feeling is that comes upon them.

God gave to us freely, lovingly, cheerfully!  He gave us His Son, on this day that we celebrate as the Nativity of Our Lord, so that we might become sons and daughters of God and spend eternity with Him.  Honor and Glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by being a good steward of ALL that He has given 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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