In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ emphasied the importance of laying up treasure toward God. He used the example of a very rich man, whose “ground yielded plentifully” (Luke l2:l6). His mind was troubled of what he should do? So many new things were added to his riches. What now? Where is the space to gather all these riches?
The rich man, as one can see clearly through the Gospel, was considered only for himself. He spoke only with himself. He desides things, which are profitable to him. In his thoughts about what to do, he never, even for once, thanked God for all the plentifully goods, which God had provided him with. The rich man is very selfish and does not think for anyone else except for his own benefits.
He desides to pull down his barns and build greater, and there he will store all his crops and his goods (Luke l2:l8). And then, as though there was one else in the whole world, said to himself: “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke l2:l9).
When man becomes blind, because of material and worldly riches, then he cannot see anything else beside his own needs. To be rich is not sinful, nor can anyone say that it is wrong. But all riches come from God, and thus man has to use this God-given gift for the benefit of all those who are in need.
God entrusts you with worldly goods, in order to see how you will use them to become more richer in God through charitable deeds. If you have achieved something in your life, do not forget that God, behind the scenes, blessed you, enlighted you and assisted you. Therefore it is your duty to examine yourself and say, ‘Why has God given me so many things? How can I glorify my Lord and Saviour through the riches, which He has provided me with? Whom can I help? Whom can I feed? Whom can I dress? Whom should I visit in hospitals? How can I help children to study and become important and useful people in society?
These are the questions which all of us must have in mind, when things are going well in our businesses. God blesses us in order that we should assist those who are truely in need. And let no say, that they are to many beggars around the streets, who should we help? Help one, give him foud, clothing anything. But when you give, give it with your heart. Do not allow evil thoughts to over rule your good intentions. If the man is in need, your will not lose your reward. But if you harden your heart, then you turn your back to Christ, because He said, “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matth. 25:35-36).
Also in other part of Holy Scripture our beloved Lord promised us saying, that “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matth. l0:42). On the contrary, when one does not perform good deeds towards his felow man, then his actions are reflecting to Christ Himself, as this is proved with the condemnation of all those who neglected their duty to do good to others. “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels … Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me” (Matth. 25:4l, 45). The results of each individuars deeds is pointed out in the following words: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matth. 25:46).
The foolish rich man made one serious, but vital mistake in his life. Although he was not a thief, but a very hard working man, he missed out in that he never considered the needs of those in need, the poor, the sick, the orphans, the widows, etc. He just thaught about how he will build more stores; make more shops; make his income grow more and more, just to have everything which he will need to have a good and ease life, drinking and having sexual pleasures.
But God gave him the opportunity. He gave him plentifully, so that he will be without any excuse. St. Paulthe Apostle of the Nations teaches us that, on the final Judgement “every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world shall become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:l9), for everyone has the chanch to practice good, but they avoid doing so.
My beloved friends, the rich man of today’s Holy Gospel acted very foolish, beleiving that through the worldly pleasures he will overcome all difficulties in life. But he never considered the Will of God, and ended dying. Everything which he worked for was lost for him. He took nothing. Worse of all is the fact that he lost the eternal life offered by God. He ended to be taken violently by the demons into everlasting damnation.
Let us, therefore wake up from the spiritual sleep, which is caused by the material things surrounding us. Let us becoma free from the love of the vanity of this world. Let us become true Orthodox Christians, devoted to God’s Will, and let us practice His Commandments. To achieve everlasting life, let us become workers of true Faith and good deeds for the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
By His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes