“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 service to money, to riches, and possessions. His lords are void of mercy, for they grant him no repose …”
“Sufficient for thee is thy daily bread, that comes of the sweat of thy face. Let this be the measure of thy need, that which the day gives thee; and if thou findest for thyself a feast, take of it that which thou needest. Thou shalt not take in a day (the provision) of days, for the belly keeps no treasure. Praise and give thanks when thou art satisfied, that therein thou provoke not the Giver to anger … In everything give thanks and praise unto God as the Redeemer, that He may grant thee by His grace, that we may hear and do His will.”
Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306-373), hymnographer and theologian, in “On Admonition and Repentance” 21.
On this Lord’s Day, let us heed Ephraim’s reminder to fear God, for that is the pathway to true riches. Let us work hard, live simply, and give thanks for God’s loving care. That means eat only what we need for the “belly keeps no treasure.” To provoke the Giver would be to fail to handle God’s gifts as He intends.
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