On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 43: It’s Your Choice, Part I
“I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you …” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16 RSV)
Human beings seem moved with a foolish desire to get and accumulate earthly possessions – stuff. How often do we hear of millionaires who get themselves into serious trouble for the creation of incredible dishonesty. And that with the only purpose being the amassing even more wealth. The business world pursues its monetary goals with incredible zeal, almost as though such success would be a guarantee of getting to heaven! So many, even those who profess to be Christians, fail to heed the words of Christ Himself: “…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:20-21 RSV).
Christ does not force human beings to deal with each other in a just and fair manner; He does not compel us to love mercy; He does not lean on us to walk humbly with Him. He sets before humanity good and evil and makes plain what will happen when following one way or the other. He simply invites us: “Follow Me.” We are not forced to walk in His footsteps – if we do it is because of our own choice. If we follow behind Christ we see Him ahead of us, leading the way. We see His character; we know Him as Lord; we become aware, by watching Him, how to love, how to serve, how to live life in His way.
Moses spoke to the people in the Deuteronomy passage above with clear words from God about how their lives are to be lived. But it was always their own choice. Life or death. Good or evil. Blessings or curses. A simple reading of the history of God’s people in the Old Testament proves Moses right. Those who chose the way of God’s commandments, that is, love God and love your neighbor, were blessed. Those who chose otherwise were cut out from the people of God. It was that simple.
What should happen if the world of business today should suddenly make the welfare and health of the world’s poor (meaning, loving one’s neighbor) its top priority, instead of the accumulation of wealth for personal gain? That choice is there every day, not only for the business world, but for every individual alive. “I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil…”
It’s your choice. (Continued next week)
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.
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