Wednesday, March 19, 2008

10. Be faithful in little things.

A meditation from Doanh:

Jesus admonishes us to be faithful in the little things. In the book of Luke, he says, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." (Luke 16:10) Here, He is specifically talking about money as he goes on to say, "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16:11-12). Allow me to borrow the caption from the Orthodox Study Bible about this verse: The test as to whether God will bestow heavenly blessings (true riches) on a person is directly related to how that person spends his money. The money we consider our own is actually another man's, that is, belonging to God, or at least to the poor. The Fathers universally see a person's failure to give money to God's work as stealing.

So, in conclusion, money and everything we have (even our own selves) belong to God. Do not allow anything to master over you. Keep Christ the Master of your life and everything you do with what you have, your money, and yourself will fall under His good and perfect will for you. When God sees that you have been faithful over little, He will give you the "more" which is the true riches of heavenly blessings.


Emily said...

Doanh, this is such a lovely and inspiring meditation! I really like that you brought up our worldly possessions, especially money -- we tend to have this idea that it's "ours," we "earned" it, but of course it's really just another gift from God.

It reminds me of what Father Gregory said on Sunday, too. During Lent, we spend less on food (or at least, we should!) and he challenged us to give the extra money to the homeless and hungry. So I guess fasting and almsgiving are really two sides of the same coin?

Anonymous said...

By EM.
Two thoughts:
1. During Lent for some reason, I tend to spend more on food, as I feel more apt to purchase those beautiful organic greens from Whole Foods, or try several new recipes that always call for an ingrediant that isn't generally in my home. I think about food more (less is more?)--and the irony is, that Lent in my home, doesn't really mean a whole lot of changes in our diet.
2. I have continutally wondered what counts as "little things"--is it the things like making my bed or returning my library books on time?--I'd like to think so, or it is also those delicate things--the "little" choices in life that
Christ wants to see flourish in us: the smile at a loved one when we are in a grumpy mood, the care we take to make sure our homes are places that reflect God's peace--that attention to detail so necessary for the whole, the faithfulness we show in our books and music. How does our Orthodoxy spirit inform these "little things"?

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.