On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 16: Whose Will They Be?

…And (the rich man) said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:18-20 RSV)

In the Northern hemisphere of our world, many people are near the end of bringing in the harvest of goods. Celebrations are commonplace. In the United States, a national holiday of Thanksgiving for the harvest is held every fourth Thursday of November.

Our “harvest” can be considered all the goods and money that we bring in during the course of the year. Thus the very question Jesus asked in the Parable of the Rich Man quoted above is asked of us: “Whose will they be?” If God is the center of our thoughts; if His Name is written on our foreheads (Revelation 22:4); then when we see God lay His hand upon what we think is ours, we will understand when He says, “This is Mine! When I entrusted you with My goods, I specified that a portion should be your own, to supply your necessities, and a portion should be returned to Me.”

Have we returned to God the portion that is His? Have we done as directed by God, returning the tithe (10%) of His own goods and money back to Him? Have we provided from God’s goods for the poor, the fatherless and the widow? Have we provided from God’s goods for the needs of the Church from which only comes the spiritual welfare of the world?

If we have not, we can look forward with fear and trembling for our future. Christ is quite clear: “For the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Luke 8:39). Should we be surprised if God should withhold his blessing upon those who selfishly misuse that which belongs to God?

God has placed into our hands the very means to carry forward His work of salvation for the world. But if only a small portion of His people do their duty and return to God that which is His, much of the work that the Church can do will simply go undone.

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

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