Neither wealth nor poverty is good or evil in itself, says St. John Chrysostom. Everything depends on what use you make of what you’ve been given.
Now listen carefully to what I’m about to say, because it will help you gain knowledge of religion, and get rid of invalid reasoning, and make the right decisions about the truth of things.
Some things are morally good by nature; others the opposite; and still others neither good nor evil, but in a middle position. Piety is a good thing by nature, and impiety is evil. Virtue is a good thing by nature, and wickedness is evil.
But wealth and poverty are neither good nor evil in themselves. They become either good or evil from the will of those who use them.
If you use your wealth for the purposes of philanthropy, the thing becomes the foundation of good. But if you use it for robbery and greed and insolence, you turn the use of it to the direct opposite.
The same is true of poverty. If you bear it nobly by giving thanks to the Master, what has happened becomes a cause of your winning crowns. But if because of your poverty you blaspheme the Creator, and accuse him for his providence, then you are using the thing for an evil purpose.
–St. John Chrysostom, Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren, 2IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
What good use have I made of God’s gifts to me today?
Father, though they come from the hands of a sinner, accept the gifts I offer and count me worthy to be your servant.
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