Cyprian of Carthage: Afraid and Anxious

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Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“You are afraid lest perchance your estate should fail, if you begin to act liberally from it; and you do not know, miserable man that you are, that while you are fearing lest your family property should fail you, life itself, and salvation, are failing; and whilst you are anxious lest any of your wealth should be diminished, you do not see that you yourself are being diminished, in that you are a lover of mammon more than of your own soul; and while you fear, lest for the sake of yourself, you should lose your patrimony, you yourself are perishing for the sake of your patrimony. And therefore the apostle well exclaims, and says: “We brought nothing into this world, neither indeed can we carry anything out. Therefore, having food and clothing, let us therewith be content. For they who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many and hurtful desires, which drown a man in perdition and in destruction. For covetousness is a root of all evils, which some desiring, have made shipwreck from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Cyprian of Carthage (190-258) in his Treatise 8. On Works and Alms, 10.

I love how Cyprian writes and employs Scripture to make his points.

Today he alerts us to not allow fear and anxiety to hinder our obedience. Worrying about whether our estate will diminish or fail should we give generously causes us to be diminished and fail. This is a powerful idea.

Worrying about our patrimony causes us to perish for the sake of our patrimony.

The writer of Hebrews urges readers to keep their lives free of the love of money and rest in the fact that they have God who will neither leave nor forsake them. This aims to lead us to peaceful contentment.

Sadly, what we worry about both controls us and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Notice how God gives us what we choose. Those who are afraid and anxious get the fruits of that choice. They themselves are diminished in the process. But those who choose liberal generosity grasp peace and life in God.

The choice is yours. Remember God is watching and will give you what you choose.