On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 41: “As Were the Days of Noah…”

And what was it like in the days of Noah? “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6 RSV)

A quick look at the evening news, or reading the daily newspaper shows us a picture of the days that went before the Great Flood. Is our own time ripe for the coming of the Last Days? Is God “grieved…to His heart” when He sees the wickedness of man great on the earth today? The answer to both questions seems to be “yes.” And to what can we attribute much of the “wickedness” we see throughout the world, and in our own neighborhoods? Much can be attributed to selfishness and greed.

Name whatever makes up that “wickedness”: drug and alcohol abuse; identity theft; real estate and stock swindles; murder on the street; international stories of war and killing – name what you will. Almost all of this wickedness can be traced to selfishness and greed. It may begin with the simple desire for happiness and personal satisfaction. But that can lead to many sins when such happiness and personal satisfaction is seen to be satisfied by personal gain: the gain of money or other possessions like land, influence and power.

Those who use money and possessions simply for the satisfying of their personal need for happiness are pleasing and gratifying the enemy of the soul. We see this in individuals, communities, and countries: street violence over territory; identity theft simply for money; international war to claim territory. But it begins right at home: parents giving their children everything they want; keeping up to date with the latest in electronic gizmos; wearing only the most modern of clothes; etc. etc.

But “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9 RSV). Walking with God. The greatness of God is His Love – Love that moves outwardly, not inwardly. Walking with God means to know God’s will and follow it. Noah and his family were saved because their lives were centered in God and God’s will for him. God’s love was extended to His creation through Noah, who gave up his will for God’s.

Noah’s stewardship was seeking, by God’s will and command, the salvation of the world, not selfish ownership of it. Noah did his part, so that Christ could come later to do His part.

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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