Fr. Angelo Artemas (Class of '88), reminds us of “the rich man's mistake”

Fr. Angelo (far left), serves on the SVOTS 2012 Alumni BoardFr. Angelo (far left), serves on the SVOTS 2012 Alumni BoardGive Your Year–end Gift Now!

In the parable of the Rich Man/Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21) Jesus tells of the man who tears down his barns to build larger ones. This sounds quite a bit like our days. In many cities and towns across our country, massive homes are being built and older homes are being torn down in favor of huge new ones. We also witness the numerous Walmarts, Targets, Costcos, Home Depots, and fitness clubs being raised to resemble airports.

Even so, it wasn't the desire for more crops and bigger barns that was the rich man’s undoing. When it was all over and done with, God asked him one simple question. “Fool, this night your soul is required of you, and all these things you have prepared, whose shall they be?”

It was not his wealth that condemned the rich man, it was his selfishness. We have an obligation to maximize the fruits of the earth so that we may feed and provide for our children and for others.

Everything we have built, earned or amassed has come from God, and is a blessing. If we think everything we have has come from our own efforts, our possessions will be a curse. Sharing God’s blessings is not only expected, it is also one of the greatest joys in life. Not enough people today experience this joy.

There is nothing wrong with wealth, as long as God is thanked and glorified, and the wealth is shared. There is nothing wrong with big homes, as long as they are filled with children and family members, and God is at the center of those homes. There is nothing wrong with amassing crops and goods, as long as they are used to feed and provide for God’s children.

The difference between the philanthropist and the rich fool is that one shares, the other hoards.

St. Vladimir’s Seminary has been spiritually nurturing students, Orthodox faithful and God’s children for nearly seventy–five years, and our school desires to share our Lord and Savior with future generations. After securing the health and stability of our loved ones, we must share God’s blessing with our beloved Seminary. The more we offer, the more we will all do for the glory of God and His children.

Father Angelo Artemas, Class of 1988 and priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, serves on the St. Vladimir's Seminary Alumni Board.