A Word to the Rich from St. John Chrysostom

Words from St. John Chrysostom (d.407) to the rich as he encourages them to a life of almsgiving – “As those who fly unincumbered with clothes are not easily caught, but they who are incumbered with many garments and a long train are soon overtaken, so it is with the rich man and the poor. The one, though he be taken, will easily make his escape, whilst the other, though he be not detained, is incumbered by cords of his own, by numberless cares, distresses, passions, provocations, all which overwhelm the soul, and not these alone, but many other things which riches draw after them. It is much more difficult for a rich man to be moderate and to live frugally, than for the poor, more difficult for him to be free from passion. Then he, you say, will have the greater reward.β€” By no means.β€” What, not if he overcomes greater difficulties?β€” But these difficulties were of his own seeking. For we are not commanded to become rich, but the reverse. But he prepares for himself so many stumbling-blocks and impediments.”

One thought on “A Word to the Rich from St. John Chrysostom

  1. Regarding your post Reflections on 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 on July 19, 2006, I’ll leave a comment here because I couldn’t leave one there. Your blog came up on a study I was doing on that scripture. I am living in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.

    My husband and I have been separated 6+ years on account of his drug addiction and verbal abuse. We have two small children together, and things have gotten so bad that I had to get a legal separation and restraining order for our protection. He claims he is a Christian and does not wish to be separated from me. In contrast to what everyone around me (including my Christian counselor) tells me, I do not believe I am free to divorce and remarry unless he commits adultery because this scripture is very clear. Though reconciliation looks to be nowhere in sight, and I have no idea what the future holds, he is inching his way toward healing being over a year clean now. And I have been tremendously sanctified in the process of trusting in Him.

    I think the driving force with everyone’s council is that they love me and don’t want to see me “waste my life” and can’t imagine that God would want me to be bound to such a man. I can understand that its heartbreaking for them, and me too. But even if we are never reconciled and I never remarry, I can and will live a very fulfilled life in Christ. My destiny isn’t to find my knight in shining armor and live happily ever after. He (Jesus) already came and rescued me to live a life that glorifies Him. And even though my situation is very sad and impacts our children, I believe I am glorifying Him, and that’s all that matters in this life. I have come to love God more than the love of a husband, and am trusting He has a beautiful plan for all this.

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