The bountiful eye shall be blessed

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 5, 2015

The true wisdom of King Solomon echoes through the millennia, as he wrote in the Book of Proverbs, saying, “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.”

Given our nature, it is so easy to look at Solomon and say he was wealthy so it was not a problem for him to give to others, and then tell us do likewise.  However, the intrinsic value to this advice centers around the thought of we having a bountiful eye, no matter what our station in life. This is “bountiful eye” to see the excesses we have and which we may share with others.

By any measure, we are a truly wealthy people. Even the poorest person in the United States has more than 80 percent of the world’s population. However, if a person is wealthy they are more than likely trapped by their wealth. Seemingly, they expend great effort to protect it from those who want it, whether they are real, or imaginary.

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However, if we have King Solomon’s bountiful eye, we will see opportunities to help others with our wealth, financial and otherwise, rather than hoard it to our own detriment. It is not necessary to give all of what we possess away, for then we will become as those whom we are trying to help. It is incumbent, upon us to seek out more opportunities to help others throughout the coming year, and not just at this time of year.

Again, quoting from King Solomon in Proverbs, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.” Today, the very idea of giving to the poor has become a hot political topic these days and while this is a political hot potato, the reality of poverty and its effects on real people cannot be denied. The key is to help people on a one-to-one basis rather than as some kind of government program.

All through history the church has been an instrument of this kind of help, but with the advent of our scattered society the local church is hard-pressed to know what the needs of its people are, and with the fragmentation of the church it often does not have the financial resources to meet these needs. This is a very sorry truth, and it is the truth.

Yet there are ways we can help each other. One way is to look out for your neighbor and see if there is something they need which you can provide. Hopefully, you know them well enough to know what their need is. Another is to volunteer at some Christian ministry that helps the poor and needy. Indeed, let us open ourselves out to others and avoid the curse that Solomon speaks of.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” These are our Lord’s words recorded in the Gospel of Luke. If there be any talk about giving of ourselves, this doctrine must be touched upon, for it is paramount in determining the generosity which we show to others.

If our hearts only see wealth as something belonging to we alone, then we will hoard it. If we recognize that anything we have in this world, wealth included, is something that is loaned to us, for temporary use and acknowledge it will eventually pass from our control, no matter what we do, then we have an entirely different attitude about it. Wealth then becomes something we use rather than just amass.

If we know physical things are all temporary at best, then we must seek eternal things to rest our hearts upon. If we have our hearts centered in eternity and the love of God, worldly wealth becomes a tool for us to use in the building of the kingdom of God. Once we leave this world, we then will go to where our hearts have always been, with our lord and savior Jesus Christ.

From Saint Paul, “I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins.