On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 13: Sacrificial Giving
…And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." (John 6:12 RSV)
If the Orthodox people had the love of God firmly embedded in their hearts, if every church member were saturated with the spirit of self-sacrifice, there would be no lack of funds for the church-at-large, the local parishes or any ministry of the church that needs those funds to operate. Our resources would be multiplied. A thousand doors of usefulness would be opened.
If ever there were a time to sacrifice, it is now. We must practice economy in our homes. We must put away the worldly idols that have been placed before God. We must give up selfish pleasures. We must not expend our means to simply beautify the places where we live our lives. After all, we have said so many times here, our money belongs to God, it will be to Him that we will have to give an account for its use. We cannot give in to every fad and fancy that comes along to entertain ourselves and our children. When those temptations arise, it is the perfect time to instruct our family members that God has a claim on everything (yes, everything!) we possess – and nothing will ever cancel that claim!
Our money and goods are needed treasures. We cannot lavish them upon those who do not need them. Someone needs our willing gifts. There are those in our world, or around the corner from where we live who are hungry, yes, starving. We might say, “But I cannot feed them all!” But by practicing sacrificial giving, we can feed one at a time. "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." These words were spoken by Christ whose power supplied the needs of a large group of hungry people.
Do we practice excessive, extravagant habits? Then let us cut them away at once. The discipline of economy, industry, clear and selfless thinking are a much better gift to give our children than a rich inheritance.
We walk as strangers and pilgrims on this earth. Our “probationary” time in this life is limited as we prepare for the life that will be eternal. Let us not spend our brief time in this world satisfying the desires that God would have us curb. Of what value is wealth if it is stored up in automobiles, electronics, large and expensive homes, or invested in Wall Street, when we compare such wealth with the wealth that we need to store up to take with us into eternity?
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.
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