St.Paisios of Mount Athos
Not all people fit well in the world today, especially those who want to lead spiritual and honest lives; they seem to have such a hard time.
– Geronda, why don’t they fit?
– When someone is sensitive and finds himself in a harsh environment and people make his life hell, how can he put up with it? Either he has to begin cursing, or he must leave. But that’s difficult because one needs to make a living. His boss tells him, “I trust you because you don’t steal, but put some rotten produce among the fresh. Take these fresh clover bales and stick some fermented ones in the package.” He even makes him manager in order to keep him on the job and the poor man has to do as told to stay employed. And of course, he cannot sleep at night and starts taking sleeping pills. Do you know how hard life is for honest people? They run into all kinds of difficulties and have to take all kinds of abuse from their employers. Life becomes hell for them. And they cannot quit because they have a family to feed. If they stay on, it’s trouble everyday. They are between a rock and a hard place. Wherever they turn their eyes, they see a dead end. It makes one go crazy. So, they carry on and try to manage as best they can.
In another case, one employee did all the work while another colleague would only show up to collect his pay check. I know of someone who was department head somewhere. When the new government came to power, they removed him from the post and replaced him with a party member who had not even graduated from High School. They made him department head but he knew nothing about the work and so they could not really send the previous manager away to some other position. What did they do? They just added a second desk in the office. The old boss did the work and the new one was just sitting there smoking, chatting and drinking coffee … and being completely shameless. And in addition to this, he would say whatever came to his mind while all responsibility fell on the other employee who was doing all the work, until he finally couldn’t put up with the situation anymore and left the job, the poor soul. “Maybe I should go somewhere else, there’s not enough space for two desks,” he said one day and got up and left, because the new head was making his life hell. We are not talking about one or two days. It is unbearable to have someone like that over your head every day.
The just person is usually given the worst position, or may even lose his position to others. They abuse him and step all over him. Don’t we have the saying, “They walk over corpses; they stop at nothing?” But the more people push the just and righteous person down, the more the Good God lifts him up, like a cork. It’s not easy though and it takes a lot of patience. Patience clears up so many things. The person who wants to live a virtuous life and be honest in his work, be it a labourer, a merchant, or whatever else, must accept the fact that, once he begins work, he may have to reach the point of not being able to even pay the rent, for example, if he has a store, for the blessing of God to come to him. But he should not have this as his goal: “If I should reach that point, then I will surely have plenty of customers.” One must not think that way or aim at that, because then, God will not bless him. But when he decides to live as God wills and resolves not to cheat or overprice things, God will not abandon him.
It’s important that we start with God’s blessing in everything we do. A just man has God on his side. And if he has some boldness before God, then miracles happen. When someone lives according to the Gospel, he is entitled to divine help. He walks with Jesus Christ.