Saturday, June 29, 2013

Clement, Salvation of the Rich - Help me please!

This is a continuation of my series on Clement of Alexandria and his book on the Salvation of the Rich Man. If you are unfamiliar with Clement or his book, you may want to start with the introduction to this series.
"Wherefore it is by all means necessary for thee, who art pompous, and powerful, and rich, to set over thyself some man of God as a trainer and governor. Reverence, though it be but one man; fear, though it be but one man. Give yourself to hearing, though it be but one speaking freely, using harshness, and at the same time healing." (Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 41)
When the world is our oyster it is often hard to make ourselves make the decisions that are necessary to discipline our life for service in God's Kingdom. Why deny ourselves, why sacrifice our pleasure, why be concerned regarding others? These sentiments war against our soul and test our minds with the course we know our lives should take. Clement, understanding this, knew that the rich face temptations peculiar to their wealth; temptations the poor never know. Wealth, to the soul, can become like an opiate; an addicting drug.
"For it is good for the eyes not to continue always wanton, but to weep and smart sometimes, for greater health. So also nothing is more pernicious to the soul than uninterrupted pleasure. For it is blinded by melting away, if it remain unmoved by bold speech." (Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 41)
Clement understood that, for many, if they were escape "uninterrupted pleasure" and find their way in the kingdom of God, they will need someone to help them and guide them along the path.
"Fear this man when angry; be pained at his groaning; and reverence him when making his anger to cease; and anticipate him when he is deprecating punishment. Let him pass many sleepless nights for thee, interceding for thee with God, influencing the Father with the magic of familiar litanies. For He does not hold out against His children when they beg His pity. And for you he will pray purely, held in high honour as an angel of God, and grieved not by you, but for you. This is sincere repentance." (Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 41)
For some, the fellowship of the brethren is enough to encourage them along the way, but for others, their pride and self confidence insulates them from the gentile help and example of the brethren. Instead they need someone who can be more direct, more assertive, more bold in their relationships with them. Someone who sees them as not someone who is rich but rather someone who is poor in soul and in need of their help and aid, They need someone who make it their aim to assist them into the kingdom; to counsel, to rebuke, to encourage, and to pray.

How about you? Who is praying for you advancement in the kingdom? And for who's life are you praying.

David Robison

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