Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. Isaiah 5:8
“One of us has oppressed the poor, and wrested from him his portion of land, and wrongly encroached upon his landmark by fraud or violence, and joined house to house, and field to field, to rob his neighbour of something, and been eager to have no neighbour, so as to dwell alone on the earth [Isaiah 5:8]. Another has defiled the land with usury and interest, both gathering where he had not sowed and reaping where he had not strawed [Matthew 25:26], farming, not the land, but the necessity of the needy.
Another has robbed God [Malachi 3:8] the giver of all, of the firstfruits of the barnfloor and winepress, showing himself at once thankless and senseless, in neither giving thanks for what he has had, nor prudently providing, at least, for the future. Another has had no pity on the widow and orphan, and not imparted his bread and meagre nourishment to the needy, or rather to Christ, Who is nourished in the persons of those who are nourished even in a slight degree; a man perhaps of much property unexpectedly gained, for this is the most unjust of all, who finds his many barns too narrow for him, filling some and emptying others, to build greater [Luke 12:18] ones for future crops, not knowing that he is being snatched away with hopes unrealised, to give an account of his riches and fancies, and proved to have been a bad steward of another’s goods.
Another has turned aside the way of the meek [Amos 2:7], and turned aside the just among the unjust; another has hated him that reproveth in the gates [Isaiah 29:21], and abhorred him that speaketh uprightly [Amos 5:10]; another has sacrificed to his net which catches much [Habakkuk 1:16], and keeping the spoil of the poor in his house [Isaiah 3:14], has either remembered not God, or remembered Him ill—by saying “Blessed be the Lord, for we are rich,” [Zechariah 11:5] and wickedly supposed that he received these things from Him by Whom he will be punished.
For because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience [Ephesians 5:6]. Because of these things the heaven is shut, or opened for our punishment; and much more, if we do not repent, even when smitten, and draw near to Him, Who approaches us through the powers of nature.”
Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) in “On His Father’s Silence, Because of the Plague of Hail” 18 in Selected Orations of Saint Gregory Nazianzen (translated by Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow) 521-22.
Gregory of Nazianzus is the fourth of the four Doctors of the Eastern Church. His homilies are loaded with Scripture. He knew the Word of God and quotes texts not familiar to many biblical readers. In so doing he connects the dots for us about a key idea: if we handle money like the world we are children of disobedience and the only right course is repentance.
Though culture says accumulating houses, practicing usury, charging interest, and farming “the necessity of the needy” are acceptable activities, they are an abomination to the Lord. We must not be found taking advantage those He has resourced us to serve. Don’t engage in business to make money from them.
Gregory also warms those who credit God for making them rich. If God positioned you for generosity, he would say, don’t claim the right to retain His bountifully blessings. Those who do are doing nothing more than keeping the spoil of the poor in their own houses. In God’s eyes, it’s thievery. Please, remember God.
At this point, some might unsubscribe. You might say this guy has crossed the line. Look up each Scripture. See for yourself. And since it’s Lent, a time of repentance, humble yourself before God. Ask Him what needs to change in your life. Follow the leading of the Spirit. Seriously, don’t shut heaven for yourself by saying you believe one thing and doing the opposite.