For a Rainy Day: the Story of One Ascetic
I labored much but never saved money; whatever was left I distributed to the needy. But one day the thought came to me, “What if I get old and fall sick? Who will help me then, and take me in? How will I live?” That is what I thought, and began putting away money for “a rainy day”, at first a little bit from my work, and then more and more, so that I stopped helping others altogether as I had done before. With time I had saved up not a little for “a rainy day”.
And what happened? Just as I thought, so it happened. My “rainy day” arrived. A terrible wound appeared on my leg and I couldn’t work. I had to lie in bed and seek help from the doctors. But no matter how much I treated my illness, to the point where all my saved up money ended, it didn’t help. Finally the doctors said to me, “We will have to amputate the leg, otherwise you’ll die.” There was nothing to do about it, and I decided to lose my leg, if only to stay alive. Meanwhile at night I was sunk in thought. I remembered my former working life, when I had no sorrows and only joy that I could help the needy with my labors, and as if forgot to think about myself. I began asking God for help, repenting that I had become miserly, hoping in money to deliver me from every calamity. Then in a dream an angel of God appeared to me and said, “Where is your money you saved up for “a rainy day”? I began weeping. “I have sinned,” I said. “O Lord, forgive me, I won’t do it any more!” Then the angel touched my sick leg, and suddenly all sickness left me. From that time on I considered it a sin to save up money for “a rainy day.” What do I need money for when the Lord Himself takes care of me?
—St. Theophan the Recluse
The miser has learned one word, “I don’t have anything; I won’t give you anything, because I myself am poor.” Truly you are poor and wanting of every virtue; you are poor in love, poor in love for mankind, poor in faith in God, poor in eternal hope.
—St. Basil the Great
Don’t be afraid of impoverishment
Don’t be afraid of impoverishment in anything, for before this you had nothing—now you have; and if you don’t have, you will have. For the One Who created everything has not become impoverished, and never will. Believe this firmly.
Don’t chase after plenty, but be thankful for little. For everyone chases after plenty, everyone looks for abundance, everyone takes care for much, but you can’t take anything with you once you’ve left everything, not even the least. It is better to be thankful for little than to unreasonably chase after plenty… For everything that you gain here will be left on earth; having left everything behind, you will settle into your grave with your soul bared.
—St. Dimitry of Rostov
Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
From: Spiritual Trapeza. Soul-profiting Reading for Everday.