Some ancient words on sharing our resources

I’ve been reading devotionally Margaret Guenther’s At Home in the World: A Rule of Life for the Rest of Us. It’s a wonderful book, which I intend to review when I’m finished. The passage I read today, in a chapter entitled “Loving Generosity,” included a stark quote from the fourth-century bishop Basil the Great.

“What keeps you from giving now? Isn’t the poor person there? Aren’t your own warehouses full? Isn’t the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry person is dying now, the naked person is freezing now, the person in debt is beaten now — and you want to wait until tomorrow? “I’m not doing any harm,” you say. “I just want to keep what I own, that’s all.” You own! You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone’s use is your own….”

Basil’s passage concludes, “You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help.”

I’ve been thinking about this all day. What do you think?

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