Monday, December 6, 2010

On Christian Stewardship II

Dear Parish Faithful,

Here is the second of Fr. Stanley Harakas' seven meditations on the stewardship of our time, talent and treasure:

Give with blessings (vs. 6). Most English translations contrast "sparingly" with "bountifully" or "generously" in the opening verse. In the original St. Paul used the plural of the word "blessing" in contrast to "stingy." Hence, "one who sows stingily" differs utterly from "one who sows with blessings." For one like the Apostle, formed in the Hebraic mind, to speak of blessings always implies God, for, as the Psalmist says, "Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, Who alone doeth wonders" (Ps. 71:19). Only God is blessed, and all "blessings" flow from Him. The Apostle's point is that our giving always is in the context of the giving of the Giver of life.

"This dimension is made particular and more specific with the discussion about giving with blessings. In the first instance, the very form of the passage is ethical, in the sense that it is normative. It instructs how the Christian ought to give: "Give with blessings." The author, on the basis of the Hebraic understanding of things, accents what was affirmed several times earlier in this chapter, that the goods we enjoy - and from which we give - are ours only be derivation: "Only God is blessed, and all 'blessings' flow from Him." It is an affirmation of the fundamental Orthodox Christian ethical insight, that the source of all good is God. Since God is the "giver of Life," all other values and goods that are in the sphere of human choice and decision making arre derivative."

Fr. Steven

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