Church Fathers, Day 236: Hermas wants us to learn the lesson of the grapevine and the elm

Church Fathers, Day 236: Hermas wants us to learn the lesson of the grapevine and the elm March 14, 2015

hermas_1Learn the lesson of the grapevine and the elm

Some are rich and some are poor. Who’s better off ? As Hermas learns in one of his visions, the rich need the poor even more than the poor need the rich.

Do you see the elm and the grapevine?” he said.

I see them, sir,” I replied.

This grapevine,” he continued, “produces fruit, and the elm is a fruitless tree. But unless the vine is trained on the elm, it can’t bear much fruit trailing along the ground. And what fruit it does bear is rotten, because the plant is not hanging on the elm. But when the vine is put up on the elm, it yields fruit both for itself and for the elm.

This comparison is for the servants of God—for the poor man and the rich man.

The rich man has plenty of wealth, but he’s poor in matters of the Lord, because he’s distracted by his riches. He offers very few confessions and interces­sions, and the ones he does offer are small and weak, and have no power above.

But the poor man is rich in intercession and confession, and his interces­sion has great power with God. When the rich man leans on the poor man, and helps him in what he needs, believing that what he does to the poor man can be rewarded by God, then the poor man who was helped by the rich man intercedes for him, giving thanks to God for the one who gave him gifts.

So both are partners in this righteous work.”

Hermas, Similitude 2


Do I share what I have with those who need it?

Do I remember to give thanks to God for everyone who does something good for me?


Lord, let me serve you, not as if you would be uncultivated if I did not cultivate you, but so that I may have my well-being from you.

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