The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 2 years ago

The Things We Tell Ourselves - The Rich Fool


Good Deeds: Cultivating a Life of Virtue 

If you are interested in other available titles, or if you would like more information on Patristic Nectar Publications, please visit our website at  

Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present good deeds cultivating a life of virtue, a seven part lecture series. These lectures expound the place of good works in the salvation of the Christian the nature of virtues and vices and the traditional means for cultivating virtue in the Christian life. Saint John of Damascus, in his text on the virtues and the vices in the Philocalia, writes that every man is said to be made in the likeness of God as regards his imitation of God through virtues and God like actions. The study and cultivation of virtue is the quest both to love God and also to become a true human being. The lecture titles include Lecture One, good deeds, understanding virtues and vices. Lecture two, the Cardinal Virtue of Justice, Lecture Three, the cardinal virtue of of Wisdom. Lecture for, the Cardinal Virtue of courage, Lecture Five, the cardinal virtue of temperance. Lecture six, conquering the seven deadly sins. Lecture seven, after God, the failure of the secular ethic. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father...

Josiah Trenna. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, a blessed Lord's they to all of you, brothers and sisters. Thank you, and a blessed second day of the Feast of the mother of God's entrance into the temple. I've entitled my Hobbily this morning the things we say to ourselves, the things that we say to ourselves. The homily derives that title from the Short Gospel Text you just heard, the parable of the rich fool. It's only from Verse Sixteen to Verse Twenty One of Chapter Twelve of St Luke's Gospels. Very Short Gospel text full of deep application for us. The context, which wasn't read in verses thirteen to fifteen. The context for this parable of the rich fool is that a man approached Jesus to help him with a dispute about his inheritance. Apparently his father had died and he was dealing with his father's estate and he was having a conflict with one of his siblings. Sound familiar? It should. I'll tell you one of the most really sad and grotesque aspects of being a priest and bring a pastor. Specifically, is witnessing the utterly horrifying reality that often accompanies family relations at the time of a death and how breed play on Nexia, which is mentioned in this Gospel text. Right competousness poisons the most intimate of relationships and even disgraces the memory of the person being buried. We don't know exactly what the context was here. What exactly it happened? We didn't we don't know...

...what the man's concern was specifically. Was He himself trying to cut his brother out? was his brother maybe older than him and trying to cut him out? We don't know, but we know that. We know that it was bad and Jesus absolutely would not countenance the men. Would not deal with him at all. He said, who made me a judge or a divide or an arbiter over you? Jesus refused to play judge and he refused to play lawyer. If he had wanted to, he would have done it perfectly. He is the judge and he is the law giver. But those were untimely requests. Jesus had not come to judge, nor had he come to be trivialized into being some person who solves some sort of financial inheritance problem completely disregarded the men. You know, I recently was updating my own will as my family has grown, as I have grandchildren now, and I've been contemplating, you know, having to updated and make some changes and put in some things here and there. Plus, I've learned a lot. I've learnt a lot through the brutal experience of pastoring through difficulties like that. I heard from someone a very good piece of advice and it goes like this. It's a simple sentence that can be added to your will or to your trust and it can solve a lot of problems for your children or your heirs and you. Simply, it simply says this. Anyone who contests this trust is completely disinherited, period. Anyone who can tests this trust is completely disinherited, period. That's...

...the context, that's the background, and then we get the incredible parable. The parable begins with a reflection that the man is making with himself. It says the man thought to himself. That's where it began. In fact, brothers and sisters, that's where everything begins. Before something becomes an action, it starts as a thought. This is why taking custody of your mind, learning to lift your mind up and set it on the things above, learning to acquire the mind of Christ, is the first and most important thing to do in the development of the Christian life. It's the only place to start. If you want good actions to follow. You have to cultivate beautiful thoughts and you have to resist evil thoughts. This poor man, everything went bad for him because he was thinking within himself, speaking to himself, and his thoughts were absolutely rotten. He hadn't cultivated the proper thoughts about many important things, for things, in fact four things, that he did not have Jesus's mind about at all. The first was the concept of ownership and possessions. This man said in this short little tiny parable only three verses had to do with him, and in those three verses, five times he said the no, no word, my my fruits, my crops, my barnes, even... soul. He had the wrong mind, brothers and sisters, about ownership. He thought that his land, his crops, they're yield, even his own soul was his. What a foolish thought. Where in the world would he have gotten that atheistic idea? None of the things like that, not even our own souls, belong to us. Everything has been given to us as a gift from God, as a stewardship, and our souls even were stewarding which is why, at the end of this text, Jesus says, this night, your very soul is demanded of you. He couldn't even hold on to his own soul, let alone all his physical possessions. That's his first terrible mistake. We should not make the same mistake. Everything a sacred trust from God, a stewardship given to us by God. Number two, he had the wrong thoughts about the usage of possessions. He actually thought that when your possessions are increased, the right thing to do is to hoard them. Now he might have put a nice cover on it and called it savings. His crops increased had nothing to do with him. The land, it says, was fruitful. It was a clear gift from God, and he thought God was giving him an abundance so that he could have more wealth. And then he put all of his energy and all of his thoughts around the question, what do I do with this wealth? How do I preserve it... How do I make sure that it doesn't spoil? How can I guarantee that it's going to continue to give me all the money I need so I don't have to worry about working and I can just it says, eat, drink and be merry, which is a refrain that's very ancient. Even the Greeks used it to describe complete, mindless carelessness. This man had a bogus idea about retirement versus salvation. He thought that God gave him these things so he didn't have to work anymore, so he could just be at ease. I said to my soul, soul, be at ease. What words could the devil love better than that? My soul be at ease in this world, in this life, with the sin that we have in the core of our heart? Are you kidding me? My soul be at ease, poor man, completely the wrong idea about that, about usage, the usage of possessions. The right thought should have been God has blessed you abundantly. How best should I use this for his glory? Who can benefit from the prosperity that God gave to me? And once I identify who can benefit from it. What's the best way to let them benefit? How can I do it that it will be most helpful to them? How can I do it in the most secretive way so that I don't lose my own reward? This is the mentality of the church. This is the mind of Christ. With regards to possessions, we give thanks to God for them, and if we have more than we need, we don't just keep increasing what we say we need. We consider that abundance to be given by God to share, to bless people's lives, to advance the cause of the church, to enrich charitable... This is the mind of the church. He's this poor man didn't have it. His thoughts were so corrupted. In fact, the third concept that he had completely wrong was the concept of life itself. He thought the good life, he thought the good life was not working and the good life was just being rich, managing his money. No one else was involved in his concept of the good life, which is why Jesus said so clearly, even when you have an abundance, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. That's not what life is. If that's true, Jesus had no life at all. But he not only had life, he was overflowing with life and abundant life that he gives to all of his disciples. And our Savior didn't constitute life by physical possessions. He constituted life by doing his father's will and living the life of sacrificial love. That is significant life. And then the fourth mistaken thought death. This man had all these twisted up ideas, he was so malformed and perhaps the saddest one of all was that he had no place in his thoughts for death. This was his mistake. His mistake is that he wasn't even thinking about death. And of all the four, ownership, usage, life and death, of all the four, with regards to relevance to us in our own context where we live, I think this is the most important one of all. If we can get this one, the other three will follow. The man would would not think about death and therefore he was caught unprepared for death because because he didn't think about it,...

...because he thought somehow that even his soul and his life was his instead of being loaned by God with no promise attached to it of length. The Lord has appointed a day for all of us. We have no idea where that when? That is? We have no idea. Today we're going to have a memorial, just like we did last week. Today we're going to have a memorial not for Metropolitan Amphilo he who, in the course of righteousness, contracted coronavirus and died this week. We're going to have a memorial for our father, His Holiness Patriarch iarina, the Patriarch of Serbia, who, in a course of righteousness himself, that is presiding over all of the beautiful funeral rights for his beloved brother, Metropolitan Amphiloh he, in the presence of hundreds of thousands of the Faithful, himself, contracted coronavirus and died this week. May God rest his soul, Ninety years old and upright and strong. And what a beautiful way to go, what a marvelous, marvelous way to end his virtuous ministry. That's the mind of the church, always to be thinking about death. You know, brothers and sisters, we think that it's important every day, every day, to remember how tenuous our life is and that our life is in God's hand and he hasn't promised us tomorrow. This is why it's important to use your time wisely and to make yourself rich towards God, not towards the Earth. Don't be obsessed with obtaining that which you can't keep. Death will steal it from you, I promise you. Instead,...

...put your effort on obtaining that which death can't touch, which is faith, good works, sacrifice, the glory of God. None of these things can be touched by death and they will constitute a crown for all of us in the next life if we can remember death. The father say a day can't be lived properly unless we judge it to be the last day of our life. And See, John of Signai and his ladder dedicates step six, which is very early on right. That's the bottom twenty percent of the thirty steps of spiritual development on the way to Paradise. Steps steps is given to the remembrance of death. The things, the thoughts that we cultivate determine everything. The things we say to ourselves determine whether we end up a rich fool or a say. May God give us the mind of Christ and a great inheritance. Amen. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles, or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (592)