John of Gaza: Examine Yourself

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Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7

“Question: If I would like to give alms, but my thought has doubts about giving, what should I do?

Response by John of Gaza: Examine yourself, and if you found that you are doing this out of stinginess, then give something even beyond what you should have given, for example an additional small amount, and you will receive God’s mercy.”

John of Gaza in Letters from the Desert: Barsanuphius & John, trans. John Chryssavgis (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003) 189-90.

Have doubts about giving? John of Gaza urges us to examine ourselves. If we locate any stinginess or reluctance, note his advice. Give more and receive God’s mercy.

Consider the significance of this wise counsel. Often we pause in giving because we think a recipient does not “deserve” what we may give. Did you deserve Christ’s giving toward you? 

When we think about the mercy we have received from God and give generously, we become recipients of mercy. Christ assures us of this in today’s Scripture.

Think of this like a Black Friday Bonus. Give generously, and become rich in mercy! Thanks God for the blessings of abundant life in Christ.