Thought of the day
2/10/2021 6:29:15 AM

Store up treasure for yourself, or make yourself rich in the sight of God?


Saint Basil (c.330-379)

monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Doctor of the Church

Homily 31; PG 31, 261 (©Friends of Henry Ashworth)

Store up treasure for yourself, or make yourself rich in the sight of God?

"What am I to do? I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones." Now why did that land bear so well when it belonged to a man who would make no good use of its fertility? It was to show more clearly the forbearance of God, whose kindness extends even to such people as this. He “sends rain on both the just and the unjust, and makes the sun rise on the wicked and the good alike” (Mt 5:45). (…) These were God's blessings towards this rich man: fruitful fields, a temperate climate, abundant sowing, oxen to do the work and everything needful to assure his prosperity. But what do we find in this man? A bitter disposition, hatred of other people, unwillingness to give. This is the return he made to his Benefactor. He forgot that we all share the same nature; he felt no obligation to distribute his surplus to the needy; he paid no heed to those divine precepts: “Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim” (Prv 3:27), “Let not kindness and fidelity leave you” (3:3), “Share your bread with the hungry” (Is 58:7). Every prophet, every wise man cried out to him these precepts yet he turned a deaf ear. His barns were full to bursting point, but still his miserly heart was not satisfied. (…) Greed would not permit him to part with anything he possessed, and yet because he had so much there was no place to store his latest harvest And so he was incapable of making a decision and could find no escape from his anxiety. “What am I to do?” he went on saying. Who would not pity a man so oppressed? His land yields him no profit but only sighs (…); he laments in the same way as the poor do. What am I to do? How can I find food and clothing? (…) You who have wealth, recognize who has given you the gifts you have received. Consider yourself, who you are, what has been committed to your charge, from whom you have received it, why you have been preferred to most other people. You are the servant of the good God, a steward on behalf of your fellow servants (…) “What am I to do?” It would have been so easy to say: "I will feed the hungry, I will open my barns and call in all the poor (…) Let anyone who lacks bread come to me. You shall share, each according to need, in the good things God has given me, just as though you were drawing from a common well”.