“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” [Matt. 6:33] With his own power can man provide for himself? If you labor bodily you need to labor spiritually as well. You need to work as much on your heart, probably more, than on a garden. If a man pays hired workers will the Lord really leave without pay those who will work for Him? How do we work for Him? You already know everything. We need to pray and pay attention to ourselves, to struggle with thoughts, not to argue over trifles, give way to one another, even if things would go wrong because of it (because eventually you will benefit many times over), be quick to humble yourself, be open with our thoughts, commune more often and so on. Can this fit in with work? If not all the way, because of weaknesses, much is still possible. We need to grieve over our deficiencies and through this obtain humility, never justifying ourselves; for through self-justification we deprive ourselves of the ability to grow spiritually. If we don’t do what we need to do or suffer offenses and sorrows, not grieving and not humbling ourselves then I’m at a loss of what to say. In what way will we be better than an unbeliever in that case? Therefore I ask you all to suffer offenses, reproaches, and peoples’ injustices, and to bear one another’s burdens in order to make up for the lack of spiritual works. Most importantly is to know that we deserve every insult and grief (“we receive the due reward of our deeds” Luke 23:41).
It is well known to you that in the last days salvation will be through suffering. Are we really excluded from this rule? It was not in vain that the Holy Fathers said to often, many times every day, remember about death, the Last Judgment, the necessity to give an account to the Lord for every deed, word, thought, for evil deeds, for attachment to the world, for vanity, for all of our secrets on our conscience visible only to the Lord. Remember often about this.
The Lord bless you all. A starling bows to all; if you’ve offended someone ask for forgiveness.
N. [Igumen Nikon (Vorobyov)]