On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 12: Receiving To Give.

"And he told them a parable, saying, 'The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he 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?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 18:16-20 RSV)

Wherever there is life in a parish church, there is increase and growth. There is also constant interchange. There is the taking and giving out; there is the receiving and returning to the Lord that which is His. Through the parish church and the Holy Mysteries of the Church that are dispensed therein, every Orthodox believer has the opportunity to receive light and blessing. It is this light and blessing that an Orthodox believer then gives to others in the work that he or she does for the Lord and His Church.

As each gives of that which is received, each individual’s capacity for receiving is increased. Room is made for fresh supplies of grace and truth. On this giving and receiving the very life of the Orthodox Church depends. On this giving and receiving the growth of the Orthodox Church depends. The one who receives but never gives, soon stops receiving. If what that individual has received in grace and blessing from God does not flow from him or her to others, the capacity to receive is soon lost. We must give away that which has been given to us to make room for the reception of fresh blessings.

Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ did not come down to this earth to provide unending funding for the advancement of His Church. Rather, Christ has supplied individuals with resources, that by their gifts and offerings they may keep Christ’s work advancing.

Only if we become channels through which the blessings of heaven can flow to others will the Lord keep the channels supplied. What makes us poor in our parish churches is that we are not returning to the Lord what which is His own. Holding on tight to what we have, when what we have is not our own, is the source of true poverty in the Church.

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

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