“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
1Corinthians 15:57, 58
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
CHRIST’S WORDS “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”1 is not about Himself nor a boast of His works but Christ wants us to know that the world that conquered man in Adam and his children has become under Christ’s feet, and that the head of this world was trampled by Christ’s feet on the cross. For Christ conquered the world and gave it to us defeated, with sin trodden under His feet, handing-over to us sin conquered and trampled.
What do we offer God who gave us this victory through Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul at the beginning of the verse mentions his thanks to God, and we find as in the rest of the verse, that thanks alone are not equal to the cross of Christ and to His death on it. Nothing can equal such a gift as God’s victory over the world except our own victory over the world. For what is the use, dear brothers, if we thank God over this victory and are subjugated to the world? I know for sure that Christ having given us a defeated world does not mean except that we should live this defeat to be proud of and offer it in true thanks to God. The offering of Christ as a sacrifice on the cross cannot be equaled except by defeating our body with our will. What is the world’s defeat? It is to depart from among those who live for the world and not to touch evil for God to accept us2. This does not mean to depart physically, if not it would entail death, but a departure in mind, intent, heart, the will and also in actions. The world needs he who can work and toil in it to earn a living feeding those who cannot work due to a handicap, weakness, illness or need. God’s children toil and work not using this world for themselves or their pleasure but toil and work in love of Christ, to serve His children and poor brothers. In this way their faith is strengthened and their determination increased becoming “steadfast” in faith and “unmovable” whether as a result to persecution, injustice or despotism, while knowing that God cannot forget the work of love and generosity of their giving in the name of Christ and of His love, sure that the work of the world is not wasted or in vain. Because God watches over His chosen, who work and toil for God’s sake and the love of Christ.
Inasmuch as persecution, injustice and the despotism of rulers augments, determination increases and actions are strengthened with the intent honed as if God Himself is standing overseeing what His children are undergoing. According to the quantity of suffering will be grace, and according to the brow sweat will be comfort, as it is impossible that God should forget the works of love, weariness and service. The servants of Christ resemble apostles and aides whom God watches over from the beginning of the day till the end of the night, so that the servant of the Lord cannot feel he is fighting in a void as every movement, every step, and every tear is counted, because our Father is alive. Before we cry out He answers, and before we sigh He hears3, and a book of remembrance4 is written to be added to our share in heaven.
Victory over the world is gain in heaven, and serving the poor, needy and sick is equal to dressing the body of the Lord. The woman who wiped the feet of the Lord with the pure and expensive fragrant oil Christ said to her: “In pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for my burial.”5 Where now is this woman and the precious fragrant oil? She exists in every woman who wipes the bodies of the sick, the poor, and those who suffer. Where is Joseph of Arimathea who buried the body? He exists in every one who clothes the poor and naked with his money and hand-toil. These are they who are “abounding in the work of the Lord”, whose works of love in Christ will not be forgotten. The world with its earth and heavens will pass away, but the work of love in Christ will be established firmly for ever.
If the world is now bountiful and developing, it is due to those who seriously work in the works of love and service of the brothers of the Lord.
July 2, 2005
1 John 3:2. 1 John 16:33.
2 Cf. 2Cor 6:17.
3 Cf. Is 65:24.
4 Cf. Mal 3:16.
5 Matt 26:12.
|| The Orthodox Faith (Dogma) || Family and Youth || Sermons || Bible Study || Devotional || Spirituals || Fasts & Feasts || Coptics || Religious Education || Monasticism || Seasons || Missiology || Ethics || Ecumenical Relations || Church Music || Pentecost || Miscellaneous || Saints || Church History || Pope Shenouda || Patrology || Canon Law || Lent || Pastoral Theology || Father Matta || Bibles || Iconography || Liturgics || Orthodox Biblical topics || Orthodox articles || St Chrysostom |||| Bible Study || Biblical topics || Bibles || Orthodox Bible Study || Coptic Bible Study || King James Version || New King James Version || Scripture Nuggets || Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus || Index of the Miracles of Jesus || Index of Doctrines || Index of Charts || Index of Maps || Index of Topical Essays || Index of Word Studies || Colored Maps || Index of Biblical names Notes || Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids || New Testament activities for Sunday School kids || Bible Illustrations || Bible short notes
|| Prayer of the First Hour || Third Hour || Sixth Hour || Ninth Hour || Vespers (Eleventh Hour) || Compline (Twelfth Hour) || The First Watch of the midnight prayers || The Second Watch of the midnight prayers || The Third Watch of the midnight prayers || The Prayer of the Veil || Various Prayers from the Agbia || Synaxarium