“It is the Church’s pride, it is the Savior’s command, not to be concerned only about our own welfare, but about our neighbor’s also”

The Apostle says: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

You will be doing everything for the glory of God if, when you leave this place, you make yourselves responsible for saving a brother or sister, not just by accusing and rebuking him or her, but also by advising and encouraging, and by pointing out the harm done by worldly amusements, and the profit and help that come from our instruction. You will also be preparing for yourself a double reward, since as well as greatly furthering your own salvation, you will be endeavoring to heal a fellow member of Christ’s body. It is the Church’s pride, it is the Savior’s command, not to be concerned only about our own welfare, but about our neighbor’s also.

Think about what high honor you raise yourself to when you regard someone else’s salvation as a matter of extreme importance. As far as is humanly possible you imitate God himself, for listen to what he says through the prophet: “Whoever leads another from wrong to right will be as my own mouth” (Pr 28:10). In other words, “Whoever tries to save those that are negligent, and to snatch them from the jaws of the devil, is imitating me as far as a human being can.” What other work could equal this? Of all good deeds this is the greatest; of all virtue this is the summit. And this is perfectly reasonable. Christ shed his own blood for our salvation; and Paul, speaking of those who give scandal and wound the consciences of people seeing them, cried out: “Because of your knowledge a weak brother or sister is destroyed—someone for whom Christ died!” (1 Cor 8:11)

So if your Lord shed his blood for that person, surely it is right for each of us to offer at least some words of encouragement and to extend a helping hand to those who through laxity have fallen into the snares of the devil. But I am quite certain that you will do this out of the tender love you bear your own members, and that you will make every effort to bring your neighbors back to our common Mother, because I know that through the grace of God you are able to admonish others with wisdom.

St John Chrysostom

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1 Response to “It is the Church’s pride, it is the Savior’s command, not to be concerned only about our own welfare, but about our neighbor’s also”

  1. Randy Evans says:

    I wonder therefore why, in my very limited perspective, does so much of what I read, and see practiced in Orthodoxy seem to value fasting as a far more important spiritual discipline than almsgiving? Or the isolated monastic calling seem to be the very paragon of Christian virtue? I’m Orthodox, by God’s grace, but am much more drawn to imitating the Mother Theresas of the world as THE most beautiful and powerful expressions of the Gospel of Christ. If all attempts to subdue the body aren’t far outweighed by the commands of the good Samaritan or Matthew 25, then it just comes across to me as clanging cymbals, or individualistic efforts to obey pietistic rules. Yeah yeah I know, fasting has to be wed to prayer and alms, but that translates so often as a much “easier” path than regular serving in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen or visiting the millions of lonely folks in nursing homes. Much harder than meticulously reading ingredients on a can at the grocery store.

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