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 it. Haggai 1:6

Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20

Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, a.k.a. St. Jerome (c. 347-420) priest, monk, and doctor of the church. He wrote this letter to a blind church leader to encourage him. This excerpt comes from Letter LXXVI. To Abigaus.

In the larger letter, Jerome exhorts Abigaus to adopt a posture of repentance for sin, to not grieve because he is blind but pray for eyes to see the spiritual harvest (cf. John 4:35), to resist temptations, to care for a widow, and of course, to handle money as the Master instructs us.

In plain terms, we should buy the food and clothes we need, and beyond that, direct the resources in our stewardship to God’s eternal kingdom rather than just buy more and more earthly things. Also, when we work and store up money for ourselves, ironically, we actually put it in a purse with holes.

This ancient correspondence between an early church doctor and an early church leader exhibits both a knowledge of the Scriptures and a call to obedience. Jerome was known for short quips, which tweet well today. Share his wisdom through your social network!

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