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you are in now? Take care, because re­ nouncing your law may be contrary to your own interests. For if you want to return to your own city, you will not be welcomed, because you have renounced its law; and you will be shut out of it. 6 And so take care. Since you are dwelling in a foreign land, fix nothing up for yourself except what is absolutely necessary; and be ready, so that when the master of this city wants to banish you for not adhering to his law, you can leave his city and go to your own, and live according to your own law gladly, suf­ fering no mistreatment. 7 Take care, then, you who are en­ slaved to the Lord and have him in your heart. Do the works of God, remember­ ing his commandments and the promises he made; and trust in him, because he will do these things, if his command­ ments are guarded. 8 Instead of fields, then, purchase souls that have been afflicted, insofar as you can, and take care of widows and orphans and do not neglect them; spend your wealth and all your furnishings for such fields and houses as you have received from God. 9 For this is why the Master made you rich, that you may carry out these min­ istries for him. It is much better to pur­ chase the fields, goods, and houses you will find in your own city when you re­ turn to it. 10 This kind of extravagance is good and makes one glad; it has no grief or fear, but joy instead. And so, do not par­ ticipate in the extravagance sought by outsiders; for it is of no profit for you who are slaves of God. 11 But participate in your own extrav­ agance in which you can rejoice. And do not counterfeit or touch what belongs to another, or desire it. For it is evil to desire someone else’s goods. But do your own work, and you will be saved.”

Another Parable (II) While I was walking in the field and considering an elm tree and a vine, reflecting on them and their fruits, the shepherd appeared to me and said, “Why are you asking yourself about the elm tree and the vine?” “I am thinking, Lord,” I replied, “that they are extremely well suited for one another.” 2 “These two trees,” he replied, “sym­ bolize the slaves of God.” “I would like to know,” I said, “what these two trees you are speaking about symbolize.” “You see,” he said, “the elm and the vine?” “I see them, Lord,” I replied. 3 “This vine,” he said, “bears fruit; but the elm is a tree that does not. Yet if this vine did not grow up onto the elm, it could not bear much fruit, since it would be lying on the ground, and the fruit it bore would be rotten, since it would not be clinging to the elm. And so, when the vine attaches to the elm, it bears fruit both of itself and because of the elm. 4 And so you see that the elm also gives much fruit—no less than the vine, but rather more.” “How does it bear more, Lord” I asked. “Because,” he said, “it is by clinging to the elm that the vine gives an abundance of good fruit; but when it is lying on the ground it bears just a little rotten fruit. And so this parable applies to the slaves of God, the poor and the rich.” 5 “How so, Lord?” I asked. “Explain it to me.” “Listen,” he said. “The rich person has money, but is poor towards the Lord, since he is distracted by his wealth. The prayer and confession he makes to the Lord are very small—weak, small, and of no real effect. And so, when the rich person depends upon the one who is poor and supplies him with what he needs, he believes that by helping the one who is poor he will find his recom­


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