Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pondering the little flowers (revised for clarity)

I'm currently reading the little flowers of St. Francis of Assisi. It's a small little book that reads a bit like Christian legend. Interesting stuff. One thing that I've been pondering:

Francis was raising money to repair physical church buildings. He also was collecting stone and such. At one point a man he had bought stone from came back to him (knowing that Francis had money) and demanded more money for the stone he had sold. The text uses something like "with avarice in his heart" so it was clear that at least in the mind of Francis the man was being dishonest. Despite this, Francis paid him God used that in Sylvester's life. The text reads:

"Then St. Francis, marveling at his [Sylvester's] greed and not wishing to contend with him, as a true follower of the Holy Gospel, put his hands into the bosom of Bernard and, having filled them with money, put them into the bosom of Sylvester, saying that if he wanted more he would give him more. Sylvester, being content with that which he had received, departed and went to his house. In the evening, thinking over what he had done during the day and considering the zeal of Bernard and the sanctity of St. Francis, he repented of his avarice. That night and on the two following nights, he had a vision from God, in which he beheld how from the mouth of St. Francis issued a cross of gold, the top of which reached to heaven, and arms of which extended from the East all the way to the West. By reason of this vision he gave away all that he had for the love of God and became a minor friar, and he was of such holiness and grace in the Order, that he spoke with God even as one friend speaks with another, as St. Francis many time attested, and as shall be described in what follows."


How should we interact with someone who rips us off? I know the little flowers aren't scripture, but I've been pondering this lately due to something that happened to me personally. Should we confront someone who rips us off? Should we take them to court? (scripture is clear on that one, at least if they are a believer, and has another process outlined in matthew 18) Should we just ignore it?

Food for thought, no conclusions here...



Matt said...

Our approach to scripture so often seems to be about a checklist of things to do one time, then be done with it. This question/conversation reminds me of the correct approach to rebuking a brother in Matthew 18. IMO, it isn't a list of 3 steps to do once, then delete their phone number from your cell phone. It is a guide for a long process of restoration. Similarly, Scripture seems to teach that a continually allowing ourselves to be wronged is the way we should live life. I don't fully get it, but when I look at the principles in scripture outside of my filter of "practicality", I come to conclusions that seem counter to what most people say is the right way to handle situations.

Oh the gray areas in life!

Anonymous said...


who is the "him" in "the Lord worked on him" Is it Francis or the greedy guy?

renewingmind said...

Great question! I have revised the entry for clarity on that point.