A good steward for others

stjcfilterFor our money is the Lord’s, however we may have gathered it. If we provide for those in need, we shall obtain great plenty. This is why God has allowed you to have more: not for you to waste on prostitutes, drink, fancy food, expensive clothes, and all the other kinds of indolence, but for you to distribute to those in need. Just as an official in the imperial treasury, if he neglects to distribute where he is ordered, but spends instead for his own indolence, pays the penalty and is put to death, so also the rich man is a kind of steward of the money which is owed for distribution to the poor. He is directed to distribute it to his fellow servants who are in want. So if he spends more on himself than his need requires, he will pay the harshest penalty hereafter. For his own goods are not his own, but belong to his fellow servants.

Therefore let us use our goods sparingly, as belonging to others, so that they may become our own. How shall we use them sparingly, as belonging to others? When we do not spend them beyond our needs, and do not spend for our needs only, but give equal shares into the hands of the poor. If you are affluent, but spend more than you need, you will give an account of the funds which were entrusted to you. This happens also in great households. Many people have entrusted their financial affairs to their household servants. Those who have received this trust keep what has been given to them, and do not misuse the money, but distribute it where and when their master directs. You also must do this. For you have obtained more than others have, and you have received it, not to spend it for yourself, but to become a good steward for others as well.

 

new_image__93654.1348857563.300.300From St. John Chrysostom’s second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man, as published in On Wealth and Poverty (SVS Press, 1984).

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