John of Damascus: The inexhaustible grace of God the Giver

“Through the Holy Scriptures we are trained to action that is pleasing to God, and untroubled contemplation. For in these we find both exhortation to every virtue and dissuasion from every vice. If, therefore, we are lovers of learning, we shall also be learned in many things. For by care and toil and the grace of God the Giver, all …

Ephraim the Syrian: The rich are those that fear God

“No one in creation is rich but he that fears God; no one is truly poor but he that lacks the truth. How needy is he, and not rich, whose need witnesses against him that even from the abject and the beggars he needs to receive a gift. He is truly a bondman, and many are his masters: he renders …

Facing the Great Appraiser

Do you ever find yourself chewing on something the preacher said on Sunday? Well, I’ve been chewing for a few days now. He was teaching from the passage about the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31f.) He did a good job explaining it and concluded with an Antiques Road Show illustration about a guy who bought some rhino horn vases …

Leo the Great: Scatter what you may gather

“Be steadfast, Christian giver. Give what you may receive, sow what you may reap, scatter what you may gather. Fear not to spend, sigh not over the doubtfulness of the gain. Your substance grows when it is wisely dispensed. Set your heart on the profits due to mercy, and traffic in eternal gains. Your Recompenser wishes you to be munificent, …

John Cassian: The perfect abnegation of Christ

“How we should understand these words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35] And he says that this is a command of the Lord: “For He Himself,” namely the Lord Jesus, “said it is more blessed to give than to receive.” That is, the bounty of the giver is more blessed than the need of the …

Ambrose of Milan: Affection of the Heart

“God demands the affection of the heart, which is in our own power … For what would the giving of one’s whole property benefit without charity? There are some who aim at the credit of generosity for pride alone, because they wish thereby to gain the good opinion of the multitude for leaving nothing to themselves; but whilst they are …

Letter from Jerome to Abigaus: Where to put your wages

“Do not put your wages into a bag with holes, but you lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in …

Gregory of Nazianzus: Engage in the work of your salvation

“How absurd it would be to grasp at money and throw away health; and to be lavish of the cleansing of the body, but economical over the cleansing of the soul; and to seek for freedom from earthly slavery, but not to care about heavenly freedom; and to make every effort to be splendidly housed and dressed, but to have …

Augustine of Hippo: Earthly experiences are gifts

I returned late last night from three days of fly fishing with my son, Sammy, in Puget Sound, WA. The trip was an unforgettable gift from God! One of my highlights was the way Sammy and I often celebrated “God’s extravagance” and creativity when catching a beautiful Coastal Cutthroat Trout. With Augustine, we believe that gifts not received rightly can …

John Chrysostom: Faithful stewardship

He received the epithet “chrysostomos” (translated from the Greek as “golden mouthed”) because he was an eloquent communicator. He was one of the four doctors of the Eastern Church. Chrysostom states plainly that we must not “lay claim” to anything we possess for ourselves but rather administer all we possess according to God’s purposes. When we handle God’s resources in this way, …