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Homily for 10/11/09 - P18 - God provides the seed

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  • Fr David Moser
    2Cor 9:6-11 Fall is the time of harvest – the time when we look over the past season of planting and growth and reap the fruit of that labor. Today in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2009
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      2Cor 9:6-11

      Fall is the time of harvest – the time when we look over the past season
      of planting and growth and reap the fruit of that labor. Today in the
      epistle, we read of another planting, growth and harvest. The seed is
      given by God and we pray that He give also the increase of the fruits of
      the harvest from the planting of that seed. This seed is the love of God
      which is given to us and we sow that seed by casting it out into the
      world around us, as the scripture says, we “disperse it abroad” wherever
      we may find ourselves. Not only does God give the seed which we sow, but
      He also gives all that is necessary for its growth. His light and warmth
      shine upon the whole world, and His grace rains upon us abundantly. He
      quickens the seed, causing it to sprout and nourishes it by His mercy
      and compassion. Our task, in receiving this seed from God is simply to
      sow it, to spread it abroad throughout the world as God gives us the
      opportunity

      There is a very unique aspect to farming and gardening that many of us
      in these modern times don’t ever see. In order to obtain the seed for a
      new crop it is necessary to hold back some of the previous harvest to
      use as seed to plant the next crop. That means we must look forward and
      sacrifice some of what we have gained so that we might be able to save
      out some seed for the next year. Of course in our society, there are
      those who have made a specialty of growing crops solely for seed – none
      of the fruits of that harvest are consumed, but all are processed to be
      sold as seeds for the next year. Their “harvest” is not the fruits or
      vegetables or grains that they raise, but rather the money that they
      earn by selling seed to the rest of us. We do not have to think ahead
      about saving out the seed for the next season, we simply go to the store
      and purchase it. But the lesson is still there, in one way or another we
      must sacrifice a part of the harvest, some of the fruits and vegetables
      and grain that we have grown, in order to have seed to plant again. This
      seed stock remains untouched, even in times of need for it is the key to
      our future well being.

      Spiritually, we sometimes think the same thing, that we cannot sow all
      of our seed, we must keep some for ourselves. But our Lord anticipates
      that and reminds us that not only in the material world, but also in the
      spiritual realm, He gives the seed – He is the supplier. Not only that,
      but He also reminds us that He provides our daily bread giving us all
      that we need while we labor in the work of sowing the seed and nurturing
      it as it grows. This is an important promise that we must never forget.
      In the beginning God placed our first parents in a garden and from the
      fruits of that garden provided for all their needs, both physical and
      spiritual. Adam and Eve never had to think about providing for
      themselves, for God provided all that was needed for them. But the evil
      one tempted them and caused them to sin by creating doubt in their
      hearts about the trustworthiness of God, and the first sin of man was to
      forget that God is the bountiful provider of all our needs and instead
      to depend upon ourselves rather than upon Him.

      This sin, of diverting our trust in God to depending upon ourselves, is
      the root of our own self-centeredness which in turn generates a whole
      host of other sins in us – self pride, selfishness, miserliness, vanity,
      acquisitiveness, and so on. Many of the virtues run directly counter to
      this self centeredness: humility, generosity, hospitality and so on. If
      only we would turn our dependence and trust away from ourselves and
      return them to God then these sinful tendencies in us would be weakened
      and we would be more apt to practice these virtues. If we sacrifice our
      self centeredness and nurture in its place trust in God, we will be
      freed from the necessity of sin so that we might live more fully in the
      love of God and enjoy the bounties of His righteousness in our lives.

      This then takes us back to the earlier part of the epistle where we are
      reminded that “God is able to make all grace abound in you, that you,
      always having sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance of every
      good work.” God is the one who provides for us, giving us that which is
      sufficient for our needs. When we forget this and fret and worry about
      acquiring for ourselves that which we think we need, then our minds and
      hearts are drawn away from the awareness and recognition of God’s care
      and provision for us. When we think about what we do not have, we lose
      sight of the bounty that God has already given to us. When we sink into
      our own self reliance, then we lose sight of the necessity to love
      others. Our primary need is to always remember that God gives us
      sufficiency in all things. One of the Optina elders would remind his
      spiritual children that the key to happiness is to learn to want that
      which God gives. We only become unhappy when we are not content with the
      sufficiency that God has provided for us – that is when we no longer
      center our lives on God and center them instead upon ourselves.

      Once we have this awareness of God’s provision, then we can step back to
      the beginning of this part of the epistle, that “he who sows sparingly
      will reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully”
      and “God loves a cheerful giver”. Since we are no longer bound by the
      necessity to “keep some for ourselves” and to provide for our own needs
      then we can joyfully and freely give to others. This giving is giving
      out of the abundance of God. God gives not only the seed to the sower,
      but also the bread for food, that we are giving from what God has given
      to us and no matter how much we give, there will be no lack for it is
      our infinite and limitless God who is the provider. Because we now
      depend on God for all our own needs, this frees us to give to others
      without fear, without grudging, without reservation. We become the “hand
      of God” giving to others what they need, knowing that we will receive
      from God all that we need.

      All of this leads us to a recognition of the great bounty and love of
      God as He gives to us so that we might give to others and thus we are
      enriched not only materially, but more important we are enriched
      spiritually for the temptations which sprout from self centeredness are
      weakened and beaten down and the virtues which are the fruit of God’s
      grace in us thrive and grow more richly in our hearts. As we cooperate
      more and more with God’s work in us, as we become more and more fully
      reliant on all that He gives to us, as we are “enriched in everything”
      by the hand of God, this then causes us to give thanks to God. Not only
      do we then give thanks to God, but those who have received from us as
      though from the hand of God also give thanks to God and God is therefore
      all the more greatly glorified.

      Whoever sows abundantly will also reap abundantly. We are free to sow
      abundantly in this world for it is God who provides the seed for us and
      not only that but also the bread for our daily needs. By giving to those
      around us from the bounty that God has given to us, we reap spiritual
      benefits which are the result of turning away from our own
      self-centeredness and relying instead wholly on the provision of God,
      trusting Him in all things. This rich bounty of giving and receiving and
      of the fruits of God’s provision inspires us in turn and those around us
      to give thanks to God. This is the spiritual sowing and the spiritual
      harvest by which God is glorified and by which we are enriched in the
      loving embrace of our God.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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