November 6 – Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week after Pentecost (8th of Luke) Luke 12:13-15, 22-31
The Goal of Life: Luke 12:13-15, 22-31, especially vss. 15, 31: “And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. . . . But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.’” According to Nicolas Zernov, the nineteenth-century Orthodox writers Khomiakov, Dostoevsky, and Soloviev “knew man infinitely better than most of their contemporaries and many of the leaders of today. They were able to penetrate those dark corners of the human soul which have a decisive influence, especially in times of anxiety and crisis. This deep understanding of man enabled these prophetic writers to predict the course of events with surprising accuracy” (Three Russian Prophets, p. 152).
Being Orthodox, these writers derived their knowledge of human nature readily and naturally. The Lord Jesus recognizes mankind’s need for the vitality of Orthodox faith. As He responds to a frustrated man caught in an inheritance squabble (vs. 13), He also speaks to our benighted race, exposing our illusions that life is merely a chase after this world’s goods (vs. 15).
At the same time, Christ directs all of us to seek the highest good. If life is not a matter of abundant possessions, as the consumer mentality would have us believe, then what is our true goal? What is worth having? What endures eternally? Without denying that we have needs in this world, the Lord Jesus sets before us the single, primary goal that gives life genuine meaning vitality: the kingdom of God (vs. 31).
In the Parable of the Treasure in the Field (Mt 13:44), Christ explains in a single verse what seeking the kingdom of God entails. He shows us the need for a total investment of ourselves, for we are to sell everything in order to buy the field with its heavenly treasure.
If we redirect our life toward the kingdom, we obtain freedom from the fear of poverty (Lk 12:22-23). The Prophet David affirms this perspective. By embracing the kingdom, we find that “the Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall not want” (Ps 22:1). When we place ourselves under His guidance, He causes us to dwell in green pasture and nurtures us “beside the water of rest” (vs. 2). Our conversion enables the Lord to lead us “on the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (vs. 3). Even “in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me” (vs. 4).
Truth emerges when we seek the kingdom of God. “Hear these things, as many as are poor or rather, as many as desire to be rich,” says Saint John Chrysostom. “It is not poverty that is the thing to be feared, but not being willing to be poor. Account poverty to be nothing to fear, and it will not be a matter for fear to you. This fear is not in the nature of the thing, but in the judgment of feeble-minded men” (“Homily 90 on Saint Matthew,” NPNF First Series, vol. 10, p. 152).
If we go about our business in this life seeking the kingdom as our primary goal, as we would seek a treasure buried in a field we purchased, the Lord promises us that all will be well. “Do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things” (Lk 12:29).
What then? “Seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you” (vs. 31). Do we want to be slaves to our stomachs, our checkbooks, our social status? Would we not rather have the freedom that Christ gives? “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn 8:36).
Grant to us, O Lord, the peace of our spiritual powers, faith unashamed, love unfeigned, the increase of wisdom, the fulfillment of Thy commandments, and the attainment of Thy kingdom. . . . – Post-communion Prayer