“Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” Phil 4:17

 






21st Week After Pentecost – Monday

This is every pastor’s prayer and fervent desire for everyone in his flock. Although St Paul is talking about alms-giving that helped him personally, this sentiment equally applies to almsgiving to the church as a whole – tithes, pledges, ordinary regular giving, and extraordinary giving for specific needs.



The subject of MONEY is one of the most difficult for a pastor to discuss with his flock, individually and collectively. There are always those who become offended because it is “talked about too much”, or “all they want from me is my money”. The actual truth of the matter is that a pastor knows, that, since where a person’s treasure is, so is their heart, if a Christian does not give to God freely, easily, and with joy, he will make no progress in the spiritual life. The actual amount is not important; there is not a set amount everyone should give. This depends on a person’s financial and spiritual status. The only necessity is that giving be done with liberality and joy, with the expectation in so doing, fruit would be born in the soul.


If only everyone in the flock would understand the burden the pastor bears for the well-being of his flock! This burden is so evident to every pastor when he reads these words of the Holy Apostle Paul, a pastor’s pastor. Everything the pastor talks about and asks for is for the benefit of the flock. The giving of money is the sort of thing that ALWAYS returns to the giver – not in terms of increased material wealth (the heretics on TV often teach this), but ALWAYS building up one’s treasure in heaven. Almsgiving is a pillar upon which the Christian faith rests, and this pillar is formed out of love, obedience and desire to do the commandments..


 One MUST pray, and fast and give alms in order to be saved (note, this is not a comprehensive list!). If one does it poorly, then at least the attempt is made! We can always improve, but only if we try. All of these three things should be discussed in intimate detail with the pastor. A good amount of prayer of fasting or almsgiving for one is too much or too little for another. The only absolute is that we must struggle in all three.


 I must mention that there are criminal pastors who ask for money for sinful reasons. They will have their reward. May God judge them, and root them out of the flock. They are a scandal and an abomination, however, if a person gives in good faith, they always receive their reward. We must practice good stewardship. If we find out that there is dishonesty or wanton waste in church finances, we should give alms where we are more sure they can be used wisely, however, we must give alms!


 Philippians 4:10-23  But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 

Priest Seraphim Oct 21/Nov 3 2008.                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/21st-week-after-pentecost_monday_ philippians4;10-23+Luke7;36-50.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/21st-week-after-pentecost_monday_ philippians4;10-23+Luke7;36-50.pdf

 

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