Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “… lay up for yourself treasures in heaven …” (St. Matthew 6:19) One of the most obvious ways of doing this is to giving money to worthy efforts and people in need. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has strongly encouraged the corporate participation of the Antiochian Orthodox Christians in North America in this matter, with a lot of emphasis on involvement in our own Archdiocese’ benevolent Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Here are two websites which give details on the Order: http://www.stmichaelsgeneva.org/Order%20of%20St%20Ignatius%20of%20Antioch.htm & http://www.antiochian.org/Order/who.htm
It’s a lifetime commitment of at least $500 a year. One could also choose to give a lump sum of $15,000 spread out over three successive years. All are welcome: “Come, be a part of our vision for the future and find a new and deeper expression of your faith.” – Metropolitan PHILIP (click on name to access)
The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch gives $8000 a year to the Teen Soyo Special Olympics (click on orange to access)
And I have recently discovered that the Knights Hospitaller (also the Sovereign Order of St. John) are here in America as well. (They were profiled in a post a couple months ago.) “Investiture is by nomination only;” but the following website on the American Hospitallers seems to extend a welcome to potential candidates: http://www.allsaintsofnorthamerica.net/osj.html
Such organizations are an inspiration to us all to focus on giving. Personally it seems either one would have to be “set for life” or simply have the faith that one will have- available to give- $500 a year to the end of one’s earthly life. I would have to be in the latter category, for I anticipate that my wife and I will be on a limited income in our senior years, if the Lord grants us extended lives.
And the state of our American health care system with its runaway costs, well, it brings to mind the wind and the waves St. Peter saw as he approached the Lord on the water. When he feared and began to sink, the Lord Jesus, taking his hand, asked, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (St. Matthew 14:28-31) That question applies also to me.
Of course there’s more to giving than money, as St. John Chrysostom noted:
“For St. John, the dimensions of almsgiving extend to all aspects of human need, from clothing, food and shelter to the needs of soul and spirit. St. John says, “Now charity is not bare words, … but a taking care of [people].” He suggests helping the poor, tending the sick, rescuing those in peril supporting the troubled, and empathizing with both those who weep and those who rejoice” (Homily 7 on Romans). He also notes that a good word is as powerful as money in lifting another’s spirit in many cases. (Homily 19 on Romans). Again, he says “… Alms may be done not only by money, but by acts [such as] kindly standing by [or lending] a helping hand.” St. John encourages imitation of the Good Samaritan’s response to the destitute and strangers. But, he says, “exceed material help; acquaint him with heaven, help him don the robe of righteousness, and be sure to wear your own.” (Homily 25 on Romans)
– from my thesis . That said, there is still the matter of good stewardship of “our” money. Really, as St. Paul writes, “all things are from Him and through Him and to Him” – the Lord, that is. It’s HIS money!
Through the prayers of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. John Chrysostom of Constantinople, St. John the Merciful of Alexandria, and the prayers of our spiritual Fathers who guide us through our earthly sojourn, deliver us from avarice, and have mercy on us and save us, O Lord Jesus Christ our God.