Word Magazine November 1970 Page 11
THANKING GOD FOR HIS BLESSINGS
“Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (TENTH COMMANDMENT, Ex. 20:17)
Why is it that we are never satisfied with the blessings given to us, but we are jealous of the goods of our neighbor?
A well-known Orthodox emigre who died not long ago in Paris, Nicholas Berdyaev, wrote the following:
“God himself. . . awaits man’s help and contribution towards creation, but we, instead of
turning towards him his own image in ourselves and offering him freely the fruits of our
creative strength, have wasted and squandered that strength in superficial self-affirmation.”
How many people in the world today would gladly trade places with us in the United States, and especially in the luxurious living that Suburbia provides!
What culture of the past had the modern conveniences that this American society enjoys? Even our grandparents and parents would no doubt prefer the conveniences of modern living.
One would think that we who enjoy these pleasures might spend an hour or two each day on our knees, thanking God for our blessings.
Rather, we see everybody competing with each other to have more, bigger, shinier and newer of everything, surpassing his neighbor. Is there any one person satisfied with his possessions? I can’t think of even one person who says he has enough worldly goods.
What would Hell be like for some of us? Just to give us exactly what we own right now, but put us next to a person with just one more trinket than we have, forever!
You can personally change this evil, by thanking God for the blessings He has poured forth; you can yourself represent all the people in the world, the whole creation, in fact, who are spiritual infants, too involved in seeking, grasping, demanding and consuming to bother asking where all these goods come from. Just as we dislike ungrateful “free-loaders,” so too must God despise all of us who demand “what’s coming to me,” without stopping to appreciate our health, our families, our blessings.
You can be another Adam, before the fall, by accepting this life as a gift and thanking the Giver, rather than demanding always something more.
FATHER VLADIMIR BERZONSKY
Holy Trinity Church, Parma, Ohio