6 November OS 2018 – Monday of the 8th Week of St. Luke; Holy Hieromartyr Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople
The reading from the Holy Gospel today is Luke 12: 13-15, 22-31
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We all believe the Lord’s words, of course, but at the same time words like these put us to shame – we know that we do not live them. How do we acquire all-daring trust in the Lord to provide for us, and with this trust acquire also detachment from our money, property, and other material resources? How do we obey God’s command to work hard and take care of our families while simultaneously not worrying about what we are to eat or drink or wear? Here are a number of suggestions:
- Every day, dedicate your work and your financial decisions to God. Say, “O Lord, today bless me to work for Thy glory. Guide my thoughts, decisions, and actions, so that in all that I do, and in all of my management of my family’s resources, I am acting for Thy glory and for the salvation of those for whom I am responsible, and not merely from worldly concerns.”
- Every day, pray for more faith: “O Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”
- Tithe. When any income comes in, just write a check for one-tenth of that amount to the support of the Church. You will soon be relieved of anxiety and receive the grace of freedom from cares, and often (though of course this is not guaranteed, despite what the “prosperity Gospel” preachers say) you will even start doing better financially. The Lord frequently consoles us, even in this life, when we show more faith in Him.
- Give thanks to God for all things, especially when your affairs are not prospering. Pray earnestly for the insight to understand how even the most difficult problems are for your salvation.
- If you have helped someone, especially if they have borrowed money from you, and they have not shown appropriate thanks, or have not paid you back, let go. Forgive and forget. Set your heart firmly on receiving your reward from the Lord. Pray for the grace of complete forgiveness. If in future a relative or a brother in the Faith comes to you to borrow money – do not lend money. Give freely what you can afford to give, and absolutely do not expect repayment. In this way your heart will be free to love your brother.
May our All-Provident and All-Wise Lord grant us the grace of freedom from cares! May our hearts be set on His Kingdom above all the things of this world, and may He lead us all alike to life everlasting.