In what ways is the religion of Jesus applicable to the problems of daily living?
State briefly the law of giving and receiving that Jesus taught.
Much of the content of this chapter in Prosperity was originally published in the Unity tract "Giving and Receiving."
THERE IS a law of giving and receiving and it requires careful study if we would use it in our prosperity demonstrations. It is a law of mind action, and it can be learned and applied the same as any other law. The teaching of Jesus stands out prominently, because it can be practically applied to the affairs of everyday life. It is not alone a religion in the sense that word is usually taken but is a rule of thinking, doing, living, and being. It is not only ethical but practical, and men have never yet sounded the depths of the simple but all-inclusive words of Jesus. To some people it is unthinkable to connect the teaching of Jesus with the countinghouse and the market place, but a deeper insight into their meaning and purpose, which the Spirit of Truth is now revealing to the world, shows that these lofty teachings are the most practical rules for daily living in all departments of life. They are vital to modern civilization and the very foundation of business stability. The law of giving and receiving that Jesus taught, "Give, and it shall be given unto you," is found to be applicable
to all our commercial as well as our social relationships.
Why has the teaching of Jesus not been more effective in changing conditions in the world and in individual life?
We have not been more successful in making this doctrine of Jesus a practical standard for everyday guidance because we have not understood the law on which it is based. Jesus would not have put forth a doctrine that was not true and not based on unchanging law, and we can be sure that this doctrine of giving and receiving is powerful enough to support all the affairs of civilization. We have not gone deeply enough into the teaching but have thought we understood it from a mere surface study. "Ye look at the things that are before your face," says Paul, and Jesus also warned us to "judge not according to appearance." We should form no conclusions until we have gone thoroughly into the causes and the underlying laws. The things we see outwardly are the effects that have arisen from causes that are invisible to us. There is an inner and an outer to everything: both the mental and the material conditions pervade the universe. Man slides at will up and down the whole gamut of cause and effect. The whole race slides into an effect almost unconsciously and so identifies the senses with the effect that the causes are lost sight of for thousands of years.
Why is economic reform so much needed at the present time?
An awakening comes in time and the cause side of existence is again brought to the attention of men, as set forth, for example, in the doctrine of Jesus Christ. But men cannot grasp the great truth in a moment and cling to what is plainly visible to them, the effect side. The truth that things have a spiritual
as well as a material identity and that the spiritual is the cause side and of greatest value, is a revelation that may be slow in coming to most people. In this instance it is the material side that they cling to, thinking it to be all and refusing to let go. Men have taken the letter or appearance side of the Jesus Christ doctrine and materialized it to fit their beliefs and customs. That is the reason why the Christ message has not purified commerce, society, and government. But it should be made spiritually operative in those fields. It will easily do the work desired when its mental side is studied and when it is understood and applied from the spiritual viewpoint.
Can any effective reform be based on the material phase of the economic problem? Why?
Why do men who direct finance and business fail to seek any advice or assistance from the church?
There is need for reform in economics more than in any other department of everyday life. Money has been manipulated by greed until greed itself is sick and secretly asks for a panacea. But it does not look to the religion of Jesus Christ for healing. In fact that is the very last place it would apply for aid, because many of the advocates of the Jesus Christ doctrine are themselves economic dependents and have no solution for the economic problem--not understanding the power of their own religion. Yet no permanent remedy will ever be found for the economic ills of the world outside a practical application of the laws on which the doctrine of Jesus Christ is based.
Why is individual reform necessary before national or world changes can be made?
The correctness of the solution of any problem is assured by the right relation of its elements. All true reform begins with the individual. Jesus began there. He did not clamor for legislation to control men or
their actions. He called His twelve apostles and through them individually instituted that reform which has as its basis an appeal to the innate intelligence, honesty, and goodness in every man. He told them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation."
What do metaphysical teaching and study contribute toward world betterment?
As people learn more definitely about the dynamic effect of thought and how ideas pass from mind to mind, they see more and more the wisdom of the Christ teaching. They are beginning to understand that there is one undeviating law of mind action and that all thinking and all speaking is amenable to it. Thus when Jesus said, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," He taught the power of thoughts and words to bring results in accordance with the ideas back of them.
How does the desire for the accumulation of money and goods affect the finer nature and sensibilities of people?
Does avarice or greed have any effect on the health of men?
Following the metaphysical side of the teaching of Jesus, we have found that certain thoughts held in the minds of the people are causing widespread misery, disease, and death. We have also found that these thoughts can be dissolved or transformed and the whole man made over through his conscious volition. Paul well understood this process. He said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
What is the chief cause of stagnation in money circulation and its attendant evils?
What rule did Jesus give us for freeing ourselves from financial lack?
Among the destructive thoughts that men indulge in and exercise are those forms of selfishness which we know as avarice, covetousness, money getting, the desire for financial gain and for possessing the things of the world. These thoughts threaten seriously to
disturb the civilization of the world and the stability of the whole race. The sole thought of money getting is being allowed by men and women to generate its cold vapor in their souls until it shuts out all the sunlight of love and even of life. The remedy for the misery caused by destructive thoughts is not far to seek. It lies in constructive thinking along the lines that Jesus laid down. Indeed the remedy for all the ills to which flesh is heir lies in conformity to the divine law that Jesus revealed to His true followers. It is said of these true followers (Acts 4:32) that they were "of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
Is the method practiced by the early Christians practicable in the world as it is today?
Many true Christians have observed this righteous law and sought to conform to it in community life. Such efforts have not always been successful, because there was not the necessary recognition of the mental factor and the discipline of ideas. So long as the idea of covetousness is lodged in the human mind as its dominant generating factor, there can be no successful community life. That idea must be eliminated from the mental plane first; the next step, the outer practice, will then be safe and successful.
What substitute is now being advocated for the commercial standard of payments for goods and service?
What is the divine law of equilibrium? Why does it not seem to operate in financial matters?
Is there any direct connection between poverty and ill-health? How may this problem be approached? Is there a problem at the other extreme--great wealth? How may it be solved?
Everywhere true metaphysicians are preparing themselves to be members in the great colony that Jesus is to set up, by working to eliminate from their mind all selfish ideas, along with all other discordant vibrations that produce inharmony among members of the same group. A step in this direction
is the gradual introduction of the "freewill offering" plan to replace the world's commercial standard of reward for services. We are striving to educate the people on this question of giving and receiving and to let their own experience prove to them that there is a divine law of equilibrium in financial matters that corresponds to the law of balance and poise that holds the suns and the planets in place. In order to make a success of this great effort we must have the loving co-operation of everyone to whom we minister. The law is based on love and justice, and it equitably and harmoniously adjusts all the affairs of men. It goes even further, for it restores a harmony and balance in both mind and body that results in happiness and health as well as prosperity. Love and justice are mighty powers, and all things must eventually come under their influence, because even a few men and women of right motive can, by right thinking and consequent just action, introduce these ideas into the race consciousness and pave the way for their universal adoption. The movement has already begun and is rapidly gaining headway. Every student and reader is asked to give it impetus by resolving to be unselfish and just without compulsion.
What is meant by the "race consciousness"? Can we escape its effects? How can we help to change it for the better?
The race consciousness is formed of thought currents and the dominant beliefs of all the people. A few men and women rise above these currents of thought and become independent thinkers. The dominating race idea of money getting as the goal of success is now being replaced by the idea of usefulness and good works. This idea must be carried
out by individuals who have resolved to think and to act in the Jesus Christ way. To be one of these individuals and to contribute to the change in the race consciousness, first dedicate yourself in Spirit to the ministry of Jesus and resolve to carry forward the great work He has commissioned you to do. This does not mean that you must preach like Paul or necessarily carry on any extensive work in the outer. In the silence of your "inner chamber" you can do a mighty work of power by daily denying the beliefs in avarice and covetousness and affirming the universal sway of divine love and justice. You can make the idea of exact equity and justice between man and man the central theme of all your saying and doing. When you see examples of greed and avarice or when thoughts of these seek a place in your mind, remember the words of the Master: "What is that to thee? follow thou me."
Never for a moment allow yourself to entertain any scheme for getting the better of your fellows in any trade or bargain. Hold steadily to the law of equity and justice that is working in and through you, knowing for a certainty that you are supplied with everything necessary to fulfill all your requirements. Give full value for everything you get. Demand the same for everything you give, but do not try to enforce that demand by human methods. There is a better way: think of yourself as Spirit working with powerful spiritual forces, and know that the demands of Spirit must and will be met.
What should we do about saving money for the future?
Do not plan to lay up for the future; let the future
take care of itself. To entertain any fears or doubts on that point saps your strength and depletes your spiritual power. Hold steadily to the thought of the omnipresence of universal supply, its perfect equilibrium and its swift action in filling every apparent vacuum or place of lack. If you have been in the habit of hoarding or of practicing stringent economy, change your thought currents to generosity. Practice giving, even though it may be in a small way. Give in a spirit of love and give when you cannot see any possibility of return. Put real substance into your gift by giving the substance of the heart with the token of money or whatever it is. Through the power of your word you can bless and spiritually multiply everything that you give. See yourself as the steward of God handing out His inexhaustible supplies. In this manner you are setting into action mental and spiritual forces that eventually bring large results into visibility. Be happy in your giving. God loves a cheerful giver because his mind and heart are open to the flow of the pure substance of Being that balances all things.
What attitude should we take toward charity?
Do not give with any idea that you are bestowing charity. The idea of charity has infested the race consciousness for thousands of years and is responsible for the great army of human dependents. Do all you can to annul this mental error. There is no such thing as charity as popularly understood. Everything belongs to God and all His children are equally entitled to it. The fact that one has a surplus and gives some of it to another does not make the one
a benefactor and the other a dependent. The one with the surplus is simply a steward of God and is merely discharging the work of his stewardship. When one asks for divine wisdom and understanding about giving it becomes a joy both to the giver and the recipient.
Followers of Jesus who are doing His work of teaching and healing should, like Him, receive free-will offerings for their ministry to the people. The majority of those who apply to teachers and healers recognize this law of giving and receiving, but there are quite a number who do not understand it. First there are those who are in bondage to the idea of avarice, and secondly, there are those who still are in bondage to the idea of charity. Both these classes need education and treatment to release them from mental limitation and mental disease. The avaricious suffer most in body and are the most difficult to heal, because of the mental bias that prompts them to get everything as cheaply as possible, including the kingdom of heaven. They must be patiently educated to be just because it is right, and to learn to "let go" of the acquisitive spirit and replace it with the spirit of generosity. They will do this readily enough as a mental drill but are not so willing to let go of the money symbol. However, continued treatments in the silence, supplemented with oral and written instruction, will eventually prevail and heal them.
There are many examples that could be given to prove the outworking of the law. The covetous idea
has a great power over the body. It would avail little to treat the outer manifestation before first removing the inner cause from the mind. The salvation of such people is to learn to give generously and freely, not from compulsion or for the sake of reward but from a love of the giving. Some metaphysicians think to cure their patients of the hold of avaricious thoughts by charging them a good round price for their treatments. By the same token the medical doctor who charges the most is surest to heal his patients, and any service for which an exhorbitant price is charged is the best! Surely this would be a foolish idea. Metaphysical healing has become so popular that hundreds have gone into it as a business and are making of it an industry founded on the old commercial idea, just as cold and calculating, as hard and unyielding as the idea is in the ranks of the money-changers of mammon.
Surely there is a "more excellent way," one more in harmony with divine law, a way that permits the heart as well as the head and hand to be used in the grace of giving and receiving. Those who are using the freewill offering method meet with some criticism and opposition from those who hold to the commercial method and say that charging a definite sum is the legitimate way. They accuse Unity of fostering charity and poverty and keeping alive the spirit of getting something for nothing that is manifested by so many people. Our reply is that we are pursuing the only course that could ever effectually eradicate these erroneous states of consciousness and bring
people into an understanding of the spiritual law of prosperity through giving in love.
Everyone should give as he receives; in fact, it is only through giving that he can receive. Until the heart is quickened at the center and the mind is opened up to Truth there is no permanent healing. Everyone can make a fair return for everything he gets. We aim to show moneyless paupers that they can give something in return for the good that has been done them. It may be to pass the true word to some other needy one, or merely to lift up their voice in thanksgiving and praise where before they were dumb. We recognize the necessity of some action of the mammon-bound mind. It must be made to let go somewhere before it can receive the light and the power of Spirit.
Our work is to bring men and women to the place of true and lasting dominion where they are superior to both riches and poverty. We can do this by showing them that they are spiritual beings, that they live in a spiritual world here and now, and that through the apprehension of the Truth of their being and their relation to God this dominion is to be realized.
The central and most vital fact that they must come to realize is that an idea has the power of building thought structures, which in turn materialize in the outer environment and affairs and determine every detail of their existence. Every man is a king ruling his own subjects. These subjects are the ideas existing in his mind, the "subjects" of his thought. Each man's ideas are as varied and show
as many traits of character as the inhabitants of any empire. But they can all be brought into subjection and made to obey through the I AM power that is the ruler of the kingdom. In your domain of mind there may be colonies of alien ideas--the Philistines, Canaanites, and other foreign tribes, that the Children of Israel found in their Promised Land when they attempted to take possession of it. The story of the Children of Israel and how they gained the possession of that land is a symbolical representation of the experience of everyone who seeks to reclaim his own consciousness in the name of the Lord. The meaning in Hebrew of the name Canaanite is "merchant" or "trader"; in other words, a set of ideas that has to do with the commercial phase of life. Study the Children of Israel (spiritual ideas) in their experiences with these Canaanites and you will get many valuable hints on subduing and handling your own money-getting ideas.
You may allow avariciousness and stinginess to develop in your mind domain until the very blood in your body starts to dry up and your nerves are shaken and palsied with the fear of future poverty. If so, it is time these ideas were driven out and a new set of ideas settled in your domain to become active in building up a new state of consciousness (nation). Begin at once to let go of your all-consuming thoughts of gain. Think about generosity and begin to be generous for your own sake. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" will prove itself to you as the law, for you will be blessed by a new influx of ideas
of life, health, and prosperity when you start giving.
Instead of being grasping and avaricious, perhaps you have gone to the other extreme and have cultivated ideas of small things financially. You may have been fostering poverty by holding ideas of pennies instead of dollars or of hundreds instead of thousands. You may be thinking that you cannot give because your income is small or your supply is limited. Your remedy is to cultivate ideas of abundance. Claim God as your inexhaustible resource; that all things are yours. But in order to set in motion the accumulated energy of your thought you must also begin to give. You may be able to give only pennies at first, but give them in the name and the spirit of your opulent God. Send them forth with all the love of your heart and say to them as they go, "Divine love through me blesses and multiplies you."
Your consciousness is like a stream of water. If the stream is in any way dammed up, the water settles in all the low places and becomes stagnant. The quickest way to purify and reclaim the low, "swampy" places in your consciousness is to let in the flood from above by opening the dam. Many people try to demonstrate God as their supply by repeating affirmations of abundance now present, but fail to deny and thus to let go of the old condition and old belief in lack by beginning to give as generously as possible. It is not the amount you give measured by standards of the world, it is the good will you send forth with the gift; which can be measured only by spiritual standards.
"God loveth a cheerful giver." The Greek word here translated cheerful is hilarion, which means really "hilarious, joyful." The gift may be measured in dollars and cents but God looks not on such standards, He looks on and loves the "joyful" giver. We read in Deuteronomy 28:47, 48, "Because thou servedst not Jehovah thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies ... in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things." This shows that there is a definite relation between the cheerfulness or joyfulness of our giving and our prosperity. Whether we make a large or a small gift, let us make it with largeness of cheer and joy, even of hilarity, remembering that God loveth a "hilarious" giver. "Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do."
Blessings That May Be Placed On Our Gifts
Divine love, through me, blesses and multiplies this offering.
The Father gives abundantly; I receive thankfully, and give again generously.
This is the bounty of God, and I send it forth with wisdom and joy.
Divine love bountifully supplies and increases this offering.
I give freely and fearlessly, fulfilling the law of giving and receiving.