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Homily for 6/29/14 - P3 - depending on God

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  • David
    Matthew 6:22-33 We have many cares in this world; we worry about many things. We worry about our health, paying the bills, having a place to live, having a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2014
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      Matthew 6:22-33

      We have many cares in this world; we worry about many things. We worry
      about our health, paying the bills, having a place to live, having a
      job, what to wear, what we will eat, how much we get paid. We worry
      about what people think of us, our reputation, our resume, our place in
      the world. We worry about our families, our spouse, our children, our
      parents. We worry about the future, about what might happen to us
      tomorrow, what we will do next, if there is money in the bank, our
      legacy in the world and so on. We worry about these things because when
      it comes down to it, we are the ones who have to do something about it.
      Anxiety has become for us a way of life; a way of life that is taught to
      us from childhood that we have to be responsible for ourselves, that we
      have to take care of ourselves, that we have to take care of others.

      This way of life – the worries, the cares, the anxiety – is the result
      of our sinfulness. When God created our first parents, they had none of
      these worries or cares or anxiety because they were content to be
      totally dependent upon God for all their needs. They were created, in
      fact, without many of these needs that we experience and what needs they
      did have were provided by God. But then our first parents sinned; they
      did so by stepping outside of God’s provision for them and attempting to
      take their lives into their own hands. Falling to the temptation of the
      serpent, they rejected God’s provision for them and instead tried to
      provide for themselves. As a result of their sin, they then became
      subject to all of these cares that we experience today, because they
      became subject to corruption and to the decree of God that “in the sweat
      of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread.” When our first parents sinned by
      rejecting the provision of God and trying to provide for themselves, God
      gave to them just what they wanted. Now we experience that condition
      that is the result of our sinfulness in a life of cares, of worries and
      of anxiety.

      God, however, does not desire that any man should perish in his
      sinfulness, but desires that we are all saved and come again to the
      knowledge of the truth. He reaches out to us and again invites us into
      that care-free life of complete dependence upon Himself. We heard that
      invitation today in the reading of the Gospel, “Therefore I say unto
      you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall
      drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more
      than meat, and the body than raiment? … Therefore take no thought,
      saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal
      shall we be clothed? … for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have
      need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
      righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He invites
      us to again enter into that life of complete dependence upon Him. He
      does not make us so that we have no needs, nor does He even guarantee
      that we will not experience want or suffering or deprivation. What He
      does promise is that He will provide for us all that we need. Our only
      task in this is to “seek first the Kingdom of God and its
      righteousness”. Instead of spending all our energy trying to acquire and
      accumulate worldly goods, we must instead put our priorities upon
      acquiring the Kingdom of God. God will take care of the rest.
      Today we remember St Tikhon the bishop of Amathus (the patron saint of
      St Tikhon of Zadonsk). Even as a youth, St Tikhon demonstrated this
      dependence upon God. His father was a baker by trade and when he would
      leave the youth in charge of the business, St Tikhon would freely give
      bread to the poor. His father reproached him for doing this and so he
      prayed to God. Taking his father to the storehouse for their grain, they
      discovered that it was so full that the door could only be opened with
      great effort. In this manner the saint demonstrated to his father the
      truth of this saying, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these
      things will be added unto you.”

      When we trust in God’s providence; when we depend upon Him and not on
      ourselves for all of our needs, then God abundantly provides what we
      need. In the Gospel parable of the talents, the master gives to the
      servants who used the money entrusted to them wisely more money that
      they might continue to do so. In the same way we see time and time again
      in the lives of the saints that those who used the money and other
      worldly goods that they had wisely, that is to fulfill the work of God,
      then there was never any shortage. The Elder Moses, as the superior of
      Optina Pustin, was constantly spending the monastery funds for building
      this or that, expanding and improving the monastery. He did this not as
      a means of aggrandizing the monastery or himself, but rather to provide
      for those who needed the work. He would even buy from the poor items
      that were worn out or overpay for simple handcrafts. He would pay the
      children to “catch moles” in the garden and “scare crows” from the fruit
      trees. In all of this, though there were times when the money would run
      out and no income was anticipated, God would provide everything that was
      needed, just when it was needed. No one ever went without or was turned
      away – God gave the saint an abundance of money and other goods so that
      he could in turn continue to use it for the glory of God. Another saint
      that demonstrated the abundant provision of God is St John of Kronstadt
      who worked diligently for the welfare of the poor of his city. He would
      receive large sums of money in one hand from benefactors and without
      even pausing would give that same money away with the other hand. At
      times he would not even open the packet to see what he had been given,
      but would simply turn and hand it to someone in need trusting in God
      that all would receive according to their needs. He was given much
      because all that he received he gave back to God and was fully content
      with whatever God provided for his own needs.

      Even today there are those who strive to give back to God what He has
      given them. There are families of my own acquaintance who carefully set
      aside a portion of everything they receive to give to God (to give to
      the Church, to give to the poor, etc). They do this without regard for
      their own needs, but separate these funds first before everything else.
      In many cases these families experience times of need, times of
      struggle, times when it seems foolish to set aside much needed money for
      the service of God rather than to provide one’s own needs. But due to
      their faithfulness, they have always received that which they needed,
      never has God disappointed them. Always He has provided for these
      families all that they needed. They may not have many luxuries or a
      wealth of possessions or a life of ease – but God does provide all their
      needs because they trust Him and give back to Him what they receive.
      God has given all of us here great wealth (at least in comparison to the
      majority of the rest of the world) and now the question is what will we
      do with it. Will we use what He has given us to provide our own needs,
      thereby increasing our cares, our worries and our anxieties? Or perhaps
      we will freely give what God has given us back to Him and use it for His
      glory, trusting His provision for all that we need and so casting all
      our cares upon Him and returning to the state of our first parents of
      complete and total dependence upon God.

      Therefore my brothers and sisters, I ask you, “Do you worry? Do you have
      an abundance of cares? Are you anxious about many things?” If so then
      you are repeating the sin of our forefather Adam and trying to take your
      life into your own hands rather than relying upon God for everything.
      Return to the state of dependence upon God. Take as your own the promise
      of the Gospel: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things
      shall be added unto you.”

      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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