The Lord meets our Needs

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
The Lord meets our Needs
3rd Sunday after Pentecost
13 June, 2010
Romans 5:1-10 ; Matthew 6:22-33


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

These words of our Saviour given to us today about not worrying about things are very important words for us. I remember hearing these verses in church in my childhood, and I remember wondering how the Lord looked after everyone and everything in this particular way. What did He really mean about supplying all our needs such as He does for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air ?

In the course of my life, I have been hearing over and over again stories about how this has been precisely the case. People who are in need at a particularly critical moment have their needs met by the Lord even without having pre-arranged anything on their part. I know monks who have come to their last morsels of food available, and suddenly in the mail comes enough money to supply their needs for the next period of time. I have known monks who have come to the complete end of any food to eat, and someone shows up at the door with food for them. This is not to say that we are all supposed to be living deliberately on a daily, hand-to-mouth basis. Indeed, these monks are not usually waiting day-to-day for someone to show up in this manner. They are working very hard in their homes and in their monasteries to be self-sufficient. However, sometimes things happen. Sometimes, mice come and eat up the food, or raccoons come and eat everything up as they do from time-to-time at Fair Haven. In the middle of last winter, raccoons ate up all the chickens, and therefore we were deprived of our domestic eggs. That is what I am saying – sometimes unexpected things happen like this, yet the Lord is still looking after us.

It is important for us to understand that the Lord provides for our needs. We still have the responsibility to be doing whatever we are supposed to be doing in order to look after ourselves, and provide for ourselves. However, this does not mean that we are therefore doing everything ourselves. We are doing our best to be responsible ; but we depend, nevertheless, completely on the Lord to help us and to provide for us. In fact, I am able to provide for myself, and have what is necessary from day-to-day because the Lord is blessing, and enabling. Sometimes I may even have an abundance, and then I can share with those that are in need. This is the Christian way.

In effect, our Saviour is saying to us : “Go about your lives normally. Do what you have to do, but do it in the right perspective, understanding that God is blessing, and God is providing”. In the first place, everything that we are and everything that we have is coming from His heart and His hand. However, as much as we plan, unexpected things might happen. Our response to the “what if” is not to live in fear and anxiety (as we very often do). Rather, it is for us to turn to the Lord, and to say to Him : “Help me. Help me to know what to do. Help me to know how to wait for You to provide. Help me, Lord, to keep the correct perspective and to live continually in Your peace”. It is important that you and I always live trusting the Lord to provide what is necessary. Earlier I gave examples of monks who were running out of food, and so forth. However, I have known regular families in Orthodox parishes who, from time to time, have been in similar straits. The Lord has provided for them in the same way.

Above all, it is important for us to remember that the Lord is love (see 1 John 4:8), and that the Lord loves us, and that the Lord cares for us. Even though we are now in the billions on this earth, He nevertheless loves each one of us uniquely. He cares about each one of us uniquely. He can do this because He is God, and not a human being. He is not limited as we are. He can do all this because His love is so great and so all-encompassing. As our Saviour keeps reminding us, His love is so great that He cares about the welfare of birds and flowers. His love is so great that He cares about everything on this earth : fish, microbes, molecules, everything. His love is so great that it produced our solar system. The whole universe is the product of God’s love. If we wonder how God can possibly manage to care about each one of us billions of human beings uniquely, it is in the context of His love that He is capable of such productivity.

The Lord’s love is personal. It is not just some “force”. His love is tri-personal. His relationship with you and with me is personal. His love for you and for me is direct, unique, and personal. In Christ, we have access to His love, as the Apostle says, access to His heart because His love is so great, so deep, so all-encompassing, so particular, and so life-giving. We, who live in this age of space phantasies and various sorts of philosophies, must be careful, ourselves, not to be confused between those philosophies or phantasies, and what is the reality of God’s love. We can watch “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” as much as we want and enjoy the entertainment, but these are still merely stories. The stories mostly reflect the interior struggles of human beings who do not know God, who cannot comprehend Him and His love. It is we who can fill in the gaps of all the questions that are being asked subtly in stories such as those.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us offer our hearts, our minds, our souls, and everything about our lives to our deeply-loving and personally loving Saviour. Let us trust Him with our lives so that when we face difficulties, we will turn to Him. Let us trust Him so that even when we are not facing difficulties, we will still have confidence in Him, His love, His care, His presence and His nurturing. In everything, along with the rest of His creation, let us glorify Him, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.