It is not so much because of need that gold has become an object of desire among men, as because of the power it gives most people to indulge in sensual pleasure. There are three things which produce love of material wealth: self-indulgence, self-esteem and lack of faith. Lack of faith is more dangerous than the other two.

The self-indulgent person loves wealth because it enables him to live comfortably; the person full of self-esteem loves it because through it he can gain the esteem of others; the person who lacks faith loves it because, fearful of starvation, old age, disease, or exile, he can save it and hoard it. He puts his trust in wealth rather than in God, the Creator who provides for all creation, down to the least of living things.

There are four kinds of men who hoard wealth: the three already mentioned and the treasurer or bursar. Clearly, it is only the last who conserves it for a good purpose–namely, so as always to have the means of supplying each person’s basic needs.

—from “Four Hundred Texts on Love” 3.16-19, in The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2); taken from Orthodox Church Quotes.

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The featured image is “The Misers,” by a follower of Marinus van Reymerswaele (c. 1490-c. 1567), and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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