Remember that the bodily organ that acts as the channel of birth is the same organ that emits waste. Human nature can never be trusted and any relationship that works in this world is a grace from God.

It is clear that God did not intend for men to be idle, otherwise the Psalms and the books of the New Testament would not say what they say, and men who are monks and priests, men who sit in legislatures and in judges’ chambers, moneyed men, men of leisure, have special responsibilities because of their positions of privilege, especially if they are born into it, yet all men share analogous responsibilities in proportion to their station in life, their talents, and their faith.
For what could be more fulfilling of God’s purpose than to care for one’s flock, to work hard to shape the environment, to the best of one’s abilities, in the circumstances, to provide others with a change for life and with the tools, spiritual and material, to continue on in God’s work as God commands?

This is why it is important to manage one’s own enterprises and to have the opportunity to both fail and succeed, to build a sense of responsibility, this is why it is important to know the economy of both town and country, to understand the analogies of God’s work as depicted in the Scriptures and to deepen one’s sense of responsibility as one navigates the vagaries of this world to give others a fighting chance for life, God’s grace bestowed upon you.

Be not afraid, then, of hard work, even if it is not always to your liking, because God will always provide a chance for those who love Him to come into His rest and pursue also the work of the spirit which ultimately is the very purpose of the material work we do in this world, so that we may gain an even deeper understanding also of our spiritual responsibilities, and so the Lord has given us the two hands of our bodies with which to work, symbolizing the very tools of our souls with which to work.

God has blessed us with all the tools we need to produce abundance. Agricultural society brought survival to many and abundance to a few; some of these few wrote about the moral hazards of over-abundance for the benefit of their peers who would listen. Industrialized society – in its various political forms and social systems – produces abundance for very many, and each of these systems as well is fraught with moral hazards, both for the ruling classes who design and implement them and for the common “consumers” who toil under them.

When bread is in abundance, we must control our appetites in order to remind ourselves, not only that bread tastes good, but why probably for centuries, if not millennia, men struggled to produce bread. On the same way, we in industrialized society must not only control our appetites for bread, but for the consumption of the very energy which is at the base of industrialized society which produces in over-abundance not only the bread that we need that frees us to pursue other tasks, but also, perhaps shamefully, an over-abundance of a plethora of other goods and services, some of which free us for tasks and activities which have no discernable purpose. But who am I to judge what another person does with his own freedom?

Yet we need to control ourselves in order to appreciate what is truly valuable about the work we do and the freedom that we enjoy. In this context, then, as it is written, less is more: free yourself from the excesses of over-abundance so that you can be free to do more fruitful work.

And yet what is telling about human nature is that, despite all the philosophical preparation read about and learned in books, it is still a life-long struggle in practice and, though, yes we do have some fruit to show for our work, we have fallen way short of what we could have well achieved because the body finds solace in depraved indulgences, and even some of the less depraved ones are cloaked as the pursuit of culture, and the soul finds solace in the philosophical and spiritual books, rather than focusing sharply on the message and putting it into practice for the benefit of others. The reality is that there are few men who are full bearers of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but, by the grace of God, we have learned that perhaps the burden is not so heavy, that, through moderate discipline as taught even by today’s Orthodox, it is possible to bear as many fruits of the Holy Spirit as one’s natural talents allow, without pretensions of being a super-intellectual or super holy man, but rather humbly as a worker in the Lord’s vineyard, cheerfully accepting the wage that He deems fit and, in the end, by His grace, come into His rest on the last day.

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