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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

Out of Poverty

(Lk 21:2-4)



The principal of how important it is to put in

offerings for God out of the livelihood is clearly

exemplified in the story of the widow, who had put

her two mites into the treasury (about two pennies),

so God praised her and said:" Truly I say to you that

this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these

out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,

but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood

that she had." (Lk 21:2-4).



God is teaching us that giving in offerings

for Him is greater when it is out of poverty


If anyone is giving out of his necessities, this

proofs that he is giving as well lots of love and

sacrifice, this person is actually favoring others more

than himself…in contrast to the person who, out of

abundance, gives out whatever was left with him and

didn't feel in the first place that he is in need.

Concerning this subject, I would like to

contemplate with you into the act of whoever gives

out of his poverty (necessity): whether of his money,

time, of his rest hours or out of his health…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There are those who give out of their

necessities their own children or their relatives.

􀂙 The first example is our Father Abraham

when he offered his son Isaac.

Our father Abraham had a son after waiting for so

many years for this to happen, he was given divine

promises, his wife was barren, and he had already

aged. He was joyous with having this son when God's

command came unto him "Take now your son, your

only son Isaac, whom you love…and offer him there

as a burnt offering on one of the mountains…"(Gn:


Abraham went up there to offer God, out of his

necessities, his own son.

This offering was very dear in God's eyes, so

when Abraham prepared the altar, wood, and knife

for the burnt offering, God just stopped him, and

said:" because you have done this thing, and have

not withheld your son, your only son-- blessing I will

bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your

descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the

sand which is on the seashore"(Gn 22: 16, 17).

􀂙 Another example is Hannah, Samuel's


Hannah was barren, and her rival provoked her

severely that she wept. So she fastened, prayed in

the House of the Lord, wept a lot and made a vow

that if God will give her a male child, then she will

give him to the LORD all the days of his life, (1Sm1).

And it happened…when God gave her Samuel, as

soon as he grown to be just a little child; she took

him up with her and offered him to serve the house of

the LORD in Shiloh.

She gave, out of her necessities, her own son. So

God blessed him, and made him His prophet, Samuel

was given to anoint Saul as a King (1Sm10), and

anoint David as a king (1Sm16). And the LORD also

gave Hannah, Samuel's mother, another three sons

and two daughters.

She gave, out of her poverty, a son to the LORD.

And the LORD never made her in need for children


􀂙 Unfortunately some wives do not give out

their husbands to be ordained as Priests! And

also they don't give out their sons and

daughters for Monasticism.

This has happened with us several times: the

congregation approved upon the election of one of the

servants to be ordained as a priest, but the wife

refused, so he was not ordained!! As the bible says:

"Happy are your men and happy are these your

servants, who stand continually before you and hear

your wisdom!" (2 Ch 9:7)

Giving out a husband for priesthood, could be

giving out of the necessities, the wife could be

considering that her husband will be turned to (public

sector) after he had been only for herself…!

􀂙 Another example of those who had put in

offerings to the Lord out of their own necessity:

is the person who offers himself to God.

I mean the person who dedicates himself to God,

and offer the LORD this self which he possesses

nothing else except it, desert everything for God's

sake: whom he knows, and what he owns.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Let's move to another point which is putting

out money out of the livelihood.

There is a person who owns lot of money out of

which he puts in offerings for the LORD. But this kind

of giving is not as meaningful as when a person puts

in offerings out of what he is in need of.

􀂙 As when a person says: my whole salary is not

even enough for me, so how can I pay its tithes?

Indeed, you will give out of your necessity. That's

why God will bless the rest which will be more than

the whole amount.

􀂙 Another example, God's saying "Consecrate

to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the

womb" (Ex13:2).

And that is the commandment of the firstborn, in

the old times it was out of the vegetable or animal

production. For example a person might plant a tree,

and waits about three or four years till it bears fruit,

he then takes all the fruits (the first production) and

put it in as offering for the LORD. This is giving out of

necessity; he was waiting for it and didn't take it for


The same goes for an animal. The owner waits till

it delivers, then takes its firstborn and put it in as

offering for the LORD…so what about nowadays.

Most of the graduates complains of

unemployment, so if it happens and someone got a

job that he has been waiting for, he takes his first

salary and puts it in as offering for God, as it is the

firstborn of his income. This is also giving out of the


Likewise the first medical surgery operated by a

surgeon, or his first medical examination for a patient

or his first prescription, he dedicates it also to God.

Also every engineer or teacher does the same, an

accountant, an attorney, or any professional does so,

puts in his first income to the LORD.


So do you judge yourself for the old

firstborns which you didn't put in as offerings

for the LORD?

I don't mean its old value which it was worth ten

years ago or may be more, but I mean its equivalent

value which is worth now…because if you give out

today the same value which was worth in the old

days, then you are not giving out of your necessity…!

Shortly, it all matters about to what extent

man loves money, or is he over and above that


For that reason, the money of a poor person who

puts it in as offering for God, is more precious than

the money of a rich man who gives out of abundance,

it represents a kind of hard currency.

It reminds me of the story of Olugious the stone

breaker, who earned only one dirham everyday, then,

sits by the entrance of his village at sunset to see any

stranger who is coming. He then hosts this stranger

out of his only dirham. Hegumen Daniel the saint, of

Shehid has told the story of this man…

This also reminds me of the story of Hegumen

Youssef Metallic, who was of Alexandria's Forefathers:

a poor met him on the street and asked him for

charity, he had no money in his pockets, so he

borrowed from the grocery which was near the

Patriarchate, and gave the poor man…by this he

obeyed the commandment which says: " Give to him

who asks you "(Mt 5:42), even if you don't have


There are other examples, a poor father who

pays for his children's education out of his

necessities. Or a sick father who prefers not to buy

his own medicine for the sake of using this money to

cover up for his children's needs…

Do children ever remember how much their

parents gave them -out of their poverty-till they were

able to raise them up?

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

At that point I remember churches that do not

fulfill all the Poor's needs as they want the money for

construction projects or other activities…!!

These churches should have given the poor out of

their necessities to obey God's commandment, so

that the care for the poor would be put into real

action however the need for the money is…give the

poor even from the finances of the superb projects.

We tried this kind of giving in some of Heliopolis'

churches, and as a result the income of these

churches has highly increased than before, the church

has projects which need the money, though it was

directed to helping the poor.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

I move to another point now, which is

putting in offerings for God out of our time.

And this includes work time or break time which

actually is needed for our good health.

You return home when you are so tired saying to

yourself "The heaviness of the day and its heat I

endured not by reason of my weak nature", you want

to rest and get some sleep, but what about praying?!

You say: I don't have the time now, honestly I am so

tired, and so sleepy…

So, you don't want to put in offerings for God out

of your necessities!

But if you resist fatigue, give out of your need to

rest, and prayed, hence your prayer avails much, and

God will give you the grace to continue…

􀂙 Or sometimes you proceed to start your prayer,

and in your mind there are so many issues that keep

you busy and you want to think of them. This means

that you should keep all those issues out of your mind

first, so that you can pray…if you do so, then you are

putting in offerings for God out of your necessities.

Don't say to yourself: I will first finish thinking

about this issue then I will pray…or I will just finish

talking to this guest then I will start my prayers…or I

will first have my dinner then I will pray…by this you

are scheduling God at the bottom of your list…then

you finally start your prayers when you became too

tired to do so… so you just say I will sleep now and in

the morning I will pray!!

It is as if you are telling God, as was said to St.

Paul the Apostle, "Go away for now; when I have a

convenient time I will call for you." (Acts 24:25)…

things shouldn't go this way.

So, you should put in offerings for God out of

necessities of your time: whether for prayer,

contemplation, or spiritual reading. Do this with your

heart, and God will not forget your weariness and that

you gave out of your effort…

The same goes for the time that you spend in

church service, this time that you dedicate to God in

spite of your work and the burden of other

responsibilities… Don't ever try to apologize for not

doing your service, justifying by not having the time.

Put in offering for God out of your necessity, out of

your time.

I direct my speech to youth meetings' servants,

university assemblies’ servants, and to servants who

give out lectures.

I direct my speech also to priests, they should

dedicate more of their time to visiting their

congregation, confessions, visiting patients and

solving family problems.

Do not apologize for not doing those things using

the justification of not having time; remember this

phrase: "the path to hell is paved with apologies and


Try to overcome anything which keeps you busy,

and give the Lord time out of your necessity.

When you give God out of your time in weariness,

he will make it up for you and take away the fatigue,

as said " He gives power to the weak, And to those

who have no might He increases strength" (Is 40:29).

You should know that the phrase "I don't

have time" could mean "I'm not interested". If

an issue raises your interest, you will find time

for it.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

I am speaking as well about raising kids.

The parents are responsible for raising their child

spiritually, and not only just caring for his health,

nutrition, clothing and education.

Does any party of the parents justifies himself for

not sitting with his children in a spiritual meeting, by

not having the time to do this?

Here is God who says: "And these words which I

command you today shall be in your heart. 7You shall

teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk

of them when you sit in your house" (Dt 6:6).

When I attended the millennium of Russia's

baptism, I thanked the church for preserving the faith

during seventy years of communism. I also thanked

mothers and grandmothers who cared for their

children and were teaching them Christian faith and

prepared them for baptism.

So, give time-even out of your necessity-to teach

your children their religion.

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