On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 40: Money – An Entrusted Talent
“For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs…” (1 Timothy 6:10 RSV)
The followers of Christ are not to love money. Neither are they to despise money. Rather, they are to look upon wealth as God’s entrusted talent. By a wise use of His gifts, they may be benefitted eternally (see the parable of the Last Judgment, Matthew 25).
We are to bear in mind, however, that God has not given us riches to use just as we please. We are not to use money to satisfy our impulses, nor to give or withhold as we want to. We are not to use money in a selfish way, simply for our enjoyment.
Granted, the world favors the rich. The world looks upon the rich as of greater value than the honest poor. But rich, or poor, individual character is often formed by the way entrusted gifts are used. Both rich and poor are being “tested” by their use of worldly goods as to whether or not they will be trusted with eternal riches. Both the rich and the poor are deciding their own eternal destiny whether they are fit subjects for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:21-23 RSV)
Those who put their riches to selfish use in this world are revealing much about their character. The entirety of the Orthodox spiritual life is to represent while on earth the characteristics of life in eternity with God. After all, one’s eternity begins with one’s life on this earth. Baptized and Chrismated, one is now in the Kingdom of Heaven – yet while still on earth. One then spends a lifetime developing into what God expects of every one of His created beings: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 RSV)
Selfishness and misuse of God’s entrusted gifts are not qualities that describe someone ready for the Kingdom of God.
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.
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