This was originally posted on the old website of the OCA congregation Saint John The Wonderworker in Atlanta, Georgia.  When I returned to their website looking for it, it had disappeared.  St. John’s has been under a lot of pressure recently, having lost their beloved founding pastor this January.  Recently, one of the most prominent lay leaders in that congregation has also been called home.  May the memories of Father Jacob Meyers and John Aldrich be eternal and ever-fresh.  That congregation, though, has not wavered in its dedication to the threatened and harassed poor of Atlanta.  They are actually serving more poor now than they were while Fr. Jacob was with them.  I believe this following piece was written by Fr. Jacob.  It certainly breathes of his spirit.  I wanted to rescue it from the Web Archive before it rotates completely away.

Without the poor we have no hope of heaven.

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus describes the last judgment when each persons work will be tried by fire. Those that when seeing the poor refused to open their hearts and purses when sent to the left side and dismissed from the presence of God with the words “as you did it not to the least of these you did it not to me.”

Without the poor we have no quick way to lay up treasures in heaven.

He who gives to the poor lends to God. When we put our treasures into the hands of the poor we transfer our goods to heaven. All the gifts given to the poor or those who beg on their behalf are accounted as credit in heaven and since no thieves or moths or rust can diminish the treasure, it is truly secure awaiting our arrival in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Without the poor after we “sell all” that we have, who will we give it to.

Jesus tell the rich young ruler to sell all he has and give to the poor. The Saints from the beginning in preparation for a life in Christ sell all they have or else entrust the distribution of their wealth to a servant as a gift to the poor. Countless Saints and righteous people have taken this step as the first of a life dedicated to God.

Without the poor there is no way to give directly to Christ.

As you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me. The hands of the poor are the hands of Christ just as the Church is the body of Christ.

Without the poor we hopelessly deluded by materialism.

The poor by their lives show the rich that God is the source. The poor show the rich that it is possible to live simple uncluttered lives. The poor show the rich that lives without abundance of this worlds good is possible. Our possessions eventually possess us and grow to rule our lives.

Without the poor we have no vision of a simple lifestyle.

As the accumulation of things invades our lives, we forget that real life is found in Christ. The poor give us a view of how little we need to life a calm and peaceful life in godliness and dignity.

Without the poor we cannot learn to be content with what we have.

The household of faith, living true humility, demonstrates being content is key to a true satisfaction. God knows what we really need to live, to ask for more than God provides presumes that God is unaware of our needs or what is best for us.

Without the poor we cannot lend to God.

He who give to the poor lends to God. Saint Nectarios as well as other saints have demonstrated that God repays many times over that money we lend to him by giving to the poor. Saint Nectarios observed many times a hundred fold return on his loans. And further God supplied to Saint Nectarios the money just at the right time in the amount needed.

Without the poor we have no people to thank God for us.

Just as the rich have a responsibility to provide for the poor. The poor have a responsibility to thank God for the rich who provide for their needs. The poor by our continual gifts make mention of us every day.

Without the poor can not learn to be generous.

Only by giving can we learn to be generous and merciful. When we take those first step of generosity we are fearful but we soon learn the joy that comes from giving. Truly Acts 20:35 rightly says “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Without the poor we cannot receive from God as we have given.

As you give so it will be given to you pressed down and shaken together. But the first step in giving is find people who can receive our gifts or finding some to deliver out in abstaining from food (that is the beginning) but exercising mercy so we can receive mercy. Consider making the Winter Lent a time to begin to follow the example of Saint Nicholas in giving to the poor.

Without the poor our riches become chains that fasten us to this life and condemn us to poverty hereafter.

The Rich man had everything in this life and Lazarus lacked all things but in the life hereafter the rich man, because he forgot the poor, lives as Lazarus in the life hereafter wishing every for a drop of water.

Without the poor moth, rust and thieves ruin all that we count dear to us.

Where our treasure is there is our heart.  If we neglect the poor all that we lay up as treasure will be just a bunch of rot. The Poor do not need our help. We need to help the poor. The poor have God as their Father and GOD supplies all that they need. If you do not cease your thefts from the poor God will provide for them some other way.