Conversation on the apostolic reading of the 18 Week on Pentecost.
In the Apostolic Conquest of the 18 Week at Pentecost, Saint Paul speaks of charity. "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; but he who sows generously, will reap generously "(2 Corp. 9: 6). The apostle uses images from the world of farming: sowing, harvesting. Here there is wisdom. Everything has its time under the sun - both sowing and reaping. How to sow, and to reap it is possible only at a certain time, established by God. There is a time when sowing is impossible, just as a person can not always be a good person. We do not always have health, youth, material wealth. It happens that a person, who is still giving alms much yesterday, starts to need it himself. Therefore, it is better to hurry to charity, not postponing for later. Now is the time to sow. Do not hope for tomorrow - it may not come.
"He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly." When a man reaps the fruits of his virtues? And in this life, and in the future. "But when you do alms, do not let your left hand know what the right hand is doing, so that your alms are secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. "(Matthew 6: 3-4), it says in the Sermon on the Mount. Obviously, the phrase "will reward you explicitly" refers not only to the afterlife, but also to the present time. In another place the Savior also says: "There is no one who would leave the house, or parents, or brothers, or sisters, or wife, or children for the Kingdom of God, and would not receive much more in this time, and in the age of the future life eternal "(Luke 18: 9-30). Hence, a virtuous man reaps the fruits of alms already here on earth, and will receive a reward from the Lord in eternity.
What are the fruits of mercy in this century? Is it only the multiplication of property and money? Of course not. Although practice shows that the giver of a lot is really paid a hundredfold even in the material plan. But in response to our help to others, the Lord gives us something more - His grace. These are heavenly gifts, which are above all earthly riches and more precious than the most precious stones. Therefore, abundantly generous for the needs of the poor, is enriched more than them, for it clears its barns for the best gifts, spiritual. The Most High lavishes abundantly on their virtuous soul.
"Give each according to the location of the heart, not with distress or with coercion; for God loveth a cheerful giver "(2 Corinth 9: 7), continues Paul. Here it is necessary to correctly understand the context of the speech of the apostle. Paul talks about raising funds for low-income Christians, which the Corinthians were supposed to produce in their community. The language teacher wants Corinthians to give as many as they can, without grief and resentment. If there is prosperity, give more. If you need it, donate less. Come on, how much your heart commands. Thoughts, cardiac dispositions and deeds should be one.
However, we must remember, brothers and sisters, that any virtue, including charity, requires some kind of violence against oneself. A sinful person does not like to give - he only wants to take. To tear off the honestly earned thing (including money), you need self-coercion, effort. "The kingdom of heaven is taken by power, and those who use force delight in it" (Matthew 11: 12). Often we must go against the desires of our unclean heart, forcing him to sacrifice, forcing him to commit an act of faith. At the same time, our inner man can actively resist. In such cases, we act, as it were, contrary to the apostle's current words-we go against the disposition of our soul and accomplish a small feat of faith. For example, you gave someone a lot, and you, they say, "the toad crushed". This is the real sacrifice, and not what we give without feeling any harm, according to the saying "On you, God, what is wrong to me". Therefore, this fragment of the text should be perceived in the context of the chapter, and not as a general, always valid rule.
"God is able to enrich you with all grace, so that you, always and in every way having every contentment, were rich in every good deed" (2 Corinth 9: 8). We are again convinced that in response to material offerings, the Creator pays us almsgiving spiritual - grace, as well as earthly goods. For what? That we "were rich in every good deed". You gave it to another - the Lord gave you back, so that you will again do Christian affairs. It turns out a kind of circulation of good in the universe.
One more thought is hidden here. "God is able to enrich you with all the grace that you ... are rich in every good deed." It turns out that in a Christian way a good deed is impossible without grace! "Good deeds", made without God, are infected with pride, vanity, vanity and other passions. Therefore, even the best in the world, a person should not be proud, because he simply has nothing to be proud of. He has no real good deeds, if there is no grace. And if grace helps him, then his goodness is not his, but the Lord. "What do you have that you did not receive?" And if you got that you boast, as if you did not get it? "(1 Corinth 4: 7) - Paul writes elsewhere.
To confirm his thoughts, the apostle resorts to a quotation from the psalms: "he lavished, he gave to the poor; his truth abides in the age "(2 Corp. 9: 9). The Greek word "dikeosini", translated here as "truth", can also be translated as "righteousness." This is righteousness, which "abides in the age," that is, it will go with us to eternity: alms in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Who learns to transgress his egoism for the sake of faith, squander and distribute his and himself, that is on the path to true righteousness. He collects "treasures in the sky, where neither moth nor rust does not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6: 20).
In the following verses the apostle brings us to the goal and the peak of virtue - thanksgiving. "He who gives seed to the sower and bread for food will give you abundance of what you sow and multiply the fruits of your righteousness, so that you are all rich for every generosity that through us produces thanksgiving to God" (2 Cor. 9: 10-11). If we put someone to thank the Creator with our deeds, we succeeded. After all, a person lives on earth in order to praise and thank the Most High.
"We thank the Lord" is one of the main exclamations of the Liturgy, the central service of the Church. "Thanksgiving" - so the word "Eucharist" is translated from Greek. Thanks to the Creator and by our actions encouraging others to do the same, we carry out the highest truth of the life of the world. We receive gifts from God to thank and give them to the needy to thank the Lord and he. And there is hardly anything higher and brighter in the world than a good deed in the name of Christ; then a matter for which the believing soul will say: I thank You, Lord.
May the time of our lives be constantly filled with such deeds. Charity, coming from the pure heart and carried out for the sake of Christ, glorifies God. A Christian should spend his and himself, that is, spend his time on others, money, attention, warmth. After alms can be different - not only material, but spiritual. In this life it is necessary to distribute oneself, brothers and sisters, to serve others in the name of the Lord, who also served us. To give their strength and skills to people for the sake of Christ is the way to righteousness, which, according to the psalmist, "remains forever". God grant us to follow this path without turning off.