Your Neighbor as Yourself: Thoughts from Basil the Great
March 1st, 2012 by Steve Noblett
Basil the Great was the church father in the 3rd century often credited with opening the first hospital. He was an amazing man who came from a family of privilege and wealth. After his conversion, he started his own monastic order but left monastic life to become a priest, feeling a sense of responsibility for both Church life and society. A few years into his pastorate, famine struck the area and with it came disease and crippling poverty. In response, he started a community called the New City, in which healthcare and other necessities were shared in common. It is a story worth reading. John Perkins may be the father of CCHF, but Basil the Great must be somewhere in our foundations a few centuries ahead of John.
Basil taught that loving your neighbor as yourself means that you desire for your neighbor the same things that you desire for yourself. In his sermon To the Rich, he said, "...those who love their neighbor as themselves possess nothing more than their neighbor; yet surely, you seem to have great possessions! How else can this be, but that you have preferred your own enjoyment to the consolation of the many? For the more you abound in wealth, the more you lack in love."
Basil would not have been a very popular church leader in America.
To inherit eternal life, Jesus tells us that we must love God, and we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I am not sure Jesus would have been a very popular church leader in America either.