Be moderate and reasonable in clothing
God gave us all we need to make good and comfortable clothes for ourselves, says Asterius of Amasea. If we go beyond that and spend huge sums on luxurious garments, we’re not just being wasteful; we’re being proud and boastful.
“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen” (Luke 16:1). By two brief words Scripture ridicules and satirizes the prodigal and unmeasured wastefulness of those who are wickedly rich. It is the nature and delight of those who choose a well-ordered and frugal life to measure the use of necessary things by the need of them, and to avoid the rubbish of empty vainglory and deceptive amusement as the mother of wickedness. And that we may see more clearly the meaning and force of this teaching, let us note the original use of clothing—how it is to be used when kept within rational limits.
God created sheep with well-fleeced skins, abounding in wool. Take them, shear it off, and give it to a skillful weaver, and make for yourself tunic and mantle, that you may escape both the distress of winter, and the harm of the sun’s burning rays. But if, for greater comfort, you need lighter clothing in the time of summer, God has given the use of flax, and it is very easy for you to get from it a becoming covering, that at once clothes and refreshes you by its lightness.
And while enjoying these garments, give thanks to the Creator that he has not only made us, but has also provided for us comfort and security in living.
But if, rejecting the sheep and the wool, the needful provision of the Creator of all things, and departing from rational custom through vain devices and capricious desires, you seek out fine linen, and going to the dyer, pay large prices in order that he may fish the shellfish out of the sea and stain the garment with the blood of the creature—this is the act of a man gorged on luxury, who misuses his riches, having no place to pour out the excess of his wealth.
–Asterius of Amasea, Sermon 1
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do my indulgences use up money that could be spent on worthwhile things—like feeding the poor or even my own family?
Lord, give me a generous heart, and send your Spirit to strengthen me in pure and blameless service.
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