(Back) The Parable of the Prodigal Son Lord, Increase our Faith (Next)
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture 36 given on April 8, 1976, Lecture 37 given on April 9, 1976 and Lecture 38 given on April 12, 1976
16:1And he said also unto the disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. 16:2And he called him, and said unto him, What is this that I hear of thee? render the account of thy stewardship; for thou canst be no longer steward. 16:3And the steward said within himself, What shall I do, seeing that my lord taketh away the stewardship from me? I have not strength to dig; to beg I am ashamed. 16:4I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 16:5And calling to him each one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 16:6And he said, A hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bond, and sit down quickly and write fifty. 16:7Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, A hundred measures of wheat. He saith unto him, Take thy bond, and write fourscore. 16:8And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light. 16:9And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles.
16:10He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much. 16:11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 16:12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 16:13No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
16:14And the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things; and they scoffed at him. 16:15And he said unto them, Ye are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The parable in Luke 17 is among Jesus' most puzzling and controversial parables. This one has been analyzed, argued about, defended, and condemned. We have to see why it proceeds to present such an obstacle to certain types of persons' understanding, and I think possibly the reason why it becomes so muddled when people deal with it with their opinions is that people try to approach it on the wrong level. Some try to deal with it as a lesson on shrewd business transactions or examples of financial manipulations; but until a person realizes that it is actually a lesson in spiritual, metaphysical logic, only in this light will it not appear as an irritating puzzle to one who is trying to figure it out.
Now, remember that all Jesus' parables refer to or describe things about the inner workings, thoughts and attitudes of you and me as individuals; but this does not always mean that the entire parable concerns only one person and one person only. There may be more than one person involved in the meaning of the parable, but still whatever is involved is within all persons. My taking the interpretations out of just one individual and spreading it about a bit may have appeared inconsistent, except for one point. Even though we employ more persons in the explanation, everything going on within one person was going on within all persons; so in that sense, you can involve more than one person in an interpretation. Still, everything involved is within each and every person.
The different characters stand for our different aspects of ourselves at different times, different ways to think and feel and react, communicate. In this parable, we want to realize that the lord, the steward, and the debtors are all different aspects of each person's thinking, feeling, and being, because much of the time you and I tend to think of ourselves only as a human being expressing through a physical body with an intellect and an emotional nature equipped somehow to this body, and we call this very limited concept, me or self. The things which this me seems to possess we call "mine". Some persons spend a whole lifetime limited to what is dictated to them by the "me and mine" state of consciousness, but the truth is that you and I are so much more than this. One of the purposes of Jesus' parables, especially the ones about stewardship, is to help us get a truer realization of who and what we really are, especially what this thing called "self" of me really is, the "me" of me really is. Is it a villain? It can be. What should it be? Think of Jesus' terminology in this parable. What should this self of me, what position should it hold in the hierarchy of my being? Steward of the real me. One of the most useful jobs that this self, this steward, can perform, is to be constantly bringing to us opportunities for choice.
Think of this self as the steward which constantly brings you opportunities for choice, and your choices, your decisions, are your investments. What do you hope to receive from all your choices? Why do you make a choice? Because you always hope for a good return on it, a good result on it. This is stewardship. This is investing wisely for the Lord of your being, which is your own highest good. The Lord is simply the law of your own highest good, and your steward, or yourself, should be investing for your Lord, making choices that will bring good returns in your life.
You and I have a relation of oneness, at all times, with the spiritual source of all good. We are one with that source. Our oneness, our individual oneness with that source is called individuality. Your individuality oneness, not your group oneness, your individual oneness with your source of all good is called individuality. In the Bible, this spiritual source is very often called the Lord. It is because of the Lord that we have access to all good, but in the form primarily of divine ideas. This is what we always have full access to, the good, ever-great good, but our contact with this good is primarily divine ideas. It does not always remain this. There is always the possibility of bringing good into our life and world, in whatever form it is needed, but the initial contact with it is as an idea.
Now, in Jesus’ parable, He refers to the lord as the rich man; and this rich man has a steward. The Lord of your being also has a steward, and the steward is your human self, the self of you, of which you are ordinarily aware and that you call "me". Your human self is the steward of the Lord of your being, and as steward of the Lord, your human self has freedom to draw upon all the substance of the good of your Lord and invest it into life through decisions, through choices, through involvement, through activities, and through words. Remember that some of your greatest and strongest investments for your Lord are your words, because, folks, everything belongs to Spirit, to the Lord. We will not go on if you do not agree with that, because there is no sense to the rest of the interpretation. Everything belongs to only Spirit, to the Lord. Only Spirit created everything, and everything belongs to the Creator; yet everything is available for our usage, enjoyment, and sharing.
Jesus, in many, many ways, folks, tries to warn us or at least instruct us, to try to avoid the burden of belief in exclusive ownership, because once you take on that belief of exclusive ownership, "me and mine, belong to me" you have taken on a burden that is not light but is quite heavy. Sometimes these burdens of "to have and to hold, my belongings" can get awfully heavy. So much of our energy, intelligence, and substance that we have to put into carrying that burden, we could be putting into other things that would bring us so much more fulfillment and sense of usefulness and belonging in our world; however, to each his own.
Now, everything belongs to the Lord, Spirit; Spirit in you is Christ, or the Lord of your being. The Lord makes you one with all good; and the human level of your being serves as steward to the spiritual of your being, which is Lord. Now, this means, in effect, that we can humanly draw upon the substance of the good of our Lord and cause it to become forms, formed. We are to invest these forms into life, and as we do this lovingly, generously, and faithfully, then we are fulfilling our human role of wise stewardship, profitable service; but nothing belongs to the steward, yet all the good of the Lord is his to use, enjoy, and invest and share. So, knowing this and acting accordingly is called wise and faithful stewardship. That steward will never be out of a job. He will never lack for anything, but as soon as our human self begins to think that it can own, it can have and hold and hang onto the things it should be investing and sharing, and this includes talents; or that the steward begins to believe that he creates the good, then begins a condition that Jesus designates as unwise stewardship, unrighteous stewardship. The moment this happens, it does not matter to whom it happens, serious mistakes begin to occur in that person's life. Trouble pops up. Trouble that is not supposed to does pop up. Misunderstandings begin to arise in our life and relationships, and unnecessary hardships begin to be encountered. The individual who is in this predicament wonders what it is all about, where did it all come from, how did it all happen, whose fault is it? This is the reaction.
These negative results of unwise stewardship, Jesus refers to as debtors. Every person, of course, goes through periods in his life when, either by making mistakes or selfish behavior or unwise attitudes, causes debtor-factors to accumulate in his life. These debtor-factors in our life can be any place where good is no longer appearing. It can be in our health, in our finances, or our human relationships. These are the three areas where the debtor-factors are most obvious when they begin to be established, in the health, finances and human relationships. The longer we are in Truth and the more we have grown in spiritual understanding, the less do we like to see any debtor-factors accumulate in our life. We do not mind if we encounter one here and there, we don't mind a challenge, a difficulty or an obstacle once in a while. You are conditioned so that you can take these things in stride and handle them and learn and grow. We need a bit of resistance now and then. If we get everything our own way, we become phlegmatic and maybe even static. An occasional debtor-factor is good, but when they begin to accumulate, this is what we do not like. We begin to feel very insecure and our life starts to feel burdensome and futile. This is good, that we do not like this, because it means that we are reawakening to the importance of our responsibility and privilege in wise and faithful stewardship.
I remember one time I tried to give this lesson before I had it firmly into my own self, and one of the congregation said, "I'm tired of being the steward. I want to be the master!" I said, "I know just what you mean."
This is the case with the steward in Jesus' parable. Notice what Jesus had this steward do, though, about his realization of his wastefulness and his mistakes, his debtor-factors. He does not try to ignore the debtors. He does not try to evade all his responsibility in this situation, but he does what to him seems the wisest and best thing to do in such a dilemma. He goes to each of his lord's recognized debtors, takes as much as payment from them as he can reasonably expect to get, and forgives the remainder of the debt.
Let's parallel this to our own life. When you and I recognize our unwise stewardship and we also recognize the debtor-factor we have created, that is, when we see that we have been selfish or wasteful or possessive or thoughtless or whatever, and we can also recognize the consequences, the results, we do this honestly and sincerely and humbly, we are then approaching a debtor, we are cognizing the factor, then we must remember as much truth as we can and realize that nothing is ever hopeless, and it is never too late. This is a spiritual law, which is just as true as "There is only one Presence and one Power in the universe.” This is equally true. Nothing is ever hopeless, nor is it ever too late. That is a principle of being. If we remember this, then we know that there is always something I can do about this, and now is always the time to do that.
As human beings, we can always derive at least something good out of anything. I am saying this as human beings, not as ascended masters. A lot of people think you must get that before you can extract the good out of anything. This is not true. Where we are now, in our human self-consciousness, we can extract something good out of anything, it does not matter what. This means anything. There is always something good to be extracted, something that can be salvaged, extricated, something which can be observed with profit. Remember that something of value can always be salvaged even out of the most hopeless looking things, no matter how big the debt is, no matter how unjust it might seem. A certain percentage of the original good can always be salvaged, always be brought back into circulation, but not automatically, understand, not just mechanically is that going to happen. So far it is all theoretical. There is a condition, and it is this: the steward in us must make this effort to do so. It is no good to just say there is good in it. That is not enough. The steward must make the effort, must do the salvaging. It is not just stating the law that will suffice. The steward in us must make this kind of an effort to extract or salvage or revive the good out of the situation. There is, in a sense, a percentage of good to be gained even out of the most wasteful-appearing mistakes. The debtors will cooperate, if they are given a chance to do so.
Now, in this story, the debtors were all able to pay the steward some percentage of what they owe. So, in our own life, all things are able to yield something, which can prove to be of worth in the long run. When we do this, we are changing from unwise or unprofitable stewards back into wise and faithful stewards.
Q. Wouldn't a good analogy here be Joseph's brothers who did not mean to be doing good?
A. Yes, He was able to extract a good deal of what appeared to be wasted good will, and he was able to salvage that and help them pay their debt but not fully, only percentage, but that was okay.
Unity has the old saying, "Look for the good in it or call it good." These are techniques that we teach, and when we do this, of course, we are changing our status because we are changing the situation. The steward of our story, after finding whatever good he could get out of his mistakes, then continues to be wise in forgiving that which he could do nothing more about. In other words, when an evil is now after the fact, the only wise thing to do about it is forgive it. I hope you see the logic of this. When an evil is after the fact, it is no longer preventable, is it? It is after the fact, so in spiritual light, the only wise thing to do is forgive it. That is what this steward did. He made his mistake, he created his debtor-factor, he realized the danger of allowing things to continue that way, he obviously knew the character of his Lord, and what is the character of Christ? All-forgiveness, absolute good, not humanly, judgmentally good; in other words, you forgive not that which is forgivable but that which needs forgiving, that is divine. To forgive that which is forgivable is rolling off a log, folks. To forgive that which is forgivable - big deal! Great effort involved! That is no effort; it is eating chocolate pie.
You see, a lot of people think, with this human judgmental type of thing, that you forgive only that which is forgivable, and when you do so, print it on, merit. That is just like saying enjoying a piece of chocolate pie because it is delicious, is merit, wear a badge. When you can forgive not that which is forgivable, but that which needs forgiveness because it is now after the fact, then you are wise and are serving the law of your being, your are serving you Lord. That is what this steward does. You can see the wisdom of it.
Immediately after giving this parable, Jesus, without pause, starts to make a comment on the meaning of the parable. He says, "For the sons of this world are, for their own generation, wiser than the sons of light." In other words, Jesus is saying persons are all in different levels of understanding, of development. Some have greater degrees of awareness and skills than others and that those on what we would call, for the sake of analysis, lower stages of development, lower phases of unfoldment, who do the best they can in their limitations, are actually doing something greater than those with a great deal of know-how, who do what comes naturally anyhow. In other words, let us say you have a fully developed healing consciousness. Sounds great, doesn't it? You go and see someone in the hospital, or better yet, you just think of that person.
Because you have that healing consciousness, you are a son of light, you heal. But, take Ed Rabel, who does not have a fully developed healing consciousness. He has a healing consciousness that looks like a slightly burned popcorn popper, but he is working at it. He still stumbles, he still thinks about sickness too much. He still wonders how that person got himself into that hospital in the first place. But I am working on it; I am trying. I am a son of this world, not a son of light yet. But in my desire to help another, I do the best I can. I sit around and think of her and affirm for her, and I will bless her as best I can; and maybe I will be a big help to her, maybe I won't, but in the sight of my Lord, I, with that very spotty consciousness, am doing what is to me the best I can. So Jesus makes this kind of a comment, "The sons of this world are, for their own generation, wiser than the sons of light." In other words, the person who is really making an effort to do the best he can, really is, under spiritual standards of judgment, than a guy who is only doing what he already knows how to do anyway.
Q. Could we say, then, that it is not being what we are that really counts but making the effort of being what we really are.
A. Right. You see, to be what we really are is no big thing, but to work at becoming is the big thing. You constantly, constantly make your effort a becoming, becoming better, becoming truer, rather than just staying at whatever plateau we have reached and exploiting our "having it made". This is not what we are created for. We are created to be a part of a living universe, creative principle; that this involves ever becoming, ever becoming, ever becoming.
This steward was making the effort to rise out of the category he had fallen into, unrighteous, unwise stewardship. He wanted to re-become that which he was, and he made the best kind of effort he could do under the circumstances. He did not get perfect results. He was not able to return to his Lord 100% of all that the Lord entrusted him with. Are you and I doing that with our Lord? Heck, not. Our Lord has given us total availability to all divine ideas. What are we returning? Kind of a patchwork return on the investment, but as long as it is the best we can do in a situation, our Lord commends it. We are told that the steward was put back in charge, and that is what will happen to all of us.
Jesus’ comments, as almost part of the parable, are these: "The sons of this world are, for their own generation, wiser than the sons of light. And I say unto you, make to yourselves friends, by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it shall fail...." (And does it ever fail? It always fails. The mammon of unrighteousness always fails, and Jesus clearly indicates that. He does not say "In case it does fail," but He says "When it does fail, here is one of your alternatives. Here is one of your options.") "they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles. He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; if, therefore, ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Mammon is the Biblical of outer material things and outer material gain-seeking in the physical world. Just as Satan in the Bible stands for negative thinking, generically, Jezebel stands for generic negative emotions, so mammon stands for generically negative beliefs about prosperity, to worship or to serve mammon means, among other things, to believe that prosperity consists of grabbing and holding on to as many things as possible. The pursuit of this is called serving mammon-worship. Basically, though, mammon refers to outer material things and pursuit of gain in outer material things in a general way.
Now, Jesus’ reference to mammon, here, is even more specific and more specialized, because He talks about not just mammon but the mammon of unrighteousness, which makes the definition even more specific; and, of course, unrighteousness simply means not right, not true. So the mammon of unrighteousness would be anything in your outer world or material world or your involvement in the material world, especially in the realm of gain-seeking, which is not right, which is not based on principle, is not according to spiritual law. Also, the mammon of unrighteousness would include beliefs about prosperity and success which are not right spiritually. That is a vast realm; first of all, incorrect beliefs, misinterpreted desires and misguided approaches and efforts in the realm of getting in our world. This is a vast realm, and many, many, many be they who are serving and worshipping mammon. You can see this, especially these days, in our newspapers.
Now, Jesus makes a statement, and remember, He is commenting on the lesson He has already presented in the vindicated steward. Many of you were not really totally satisfied and many of you had not wrapped it up, and this is good. This means that you perceived the multiple implications in that kind of a parable. That is correct. So Jesus’ comments, here, are all connected to the main ideas He was presenting in that prior paragraph.
He starts off with a sentence which is misquoted over and over and over again by ministers and teachers all over the world. Haven't you ever heard a minister say, "Jesus says, ‘Make friends with mammon.'" Notice what He says, "Make to yourself friends" by means of the mammon of unrighteousness." See what He means here? It is no good to deny that the mammon of unrighteousness exists and that it is very colorful, very influential and occupies a vast dimension in human activity on our planet. That is not the way we cope with it, to say that it does not exist, that it is not there or to try to avoid or evade it. That would not really do you much good, because wherever you go, you find it again. If you go to a monastery, the mammon of unrighteousness has a little set-up there; and believe it or not, he has an office at Unity Headquarters, you see? And he is on the board of directors of Unity centers. He is there; he is a part of the human environment because of the way human beings are now functioning.
So, what is Jesus telling us to do about this fact? Capitalize on it by using it. Use the fact that mistakes are being made to gain friends. How do we use the fact of sin and error and evil to make friends? By using the fact that it exists as an opportunity to do something to help people. If evil, sin, and unrighteousness were not facts, nobody would need your help. You do not make a friend by joining in with everything that is just sweetness and rosiness in his life. You make a friend by doing something to help him; this is how we make friends, by doing something to earn friends, and what better way to earn friends than to help out somebody? Why is it possible for you to help out somebody? Because evil, exists; sin is existing, it is a fact.
Unrighteousness is rampant. These are reasons why you and I can help others. If these were not facts, how could we help anybody? Everything is beer and roses - who needs help? You cannot give help when there is no help needed, and why is help needed? Because evil, error, sin, and unrighteousness are being made facts. I dare somebody to contradict me. Do not sit there and say, "There is no evil, there is no error, there is no unrighteousness, there is no sin!" Then, what are we doing in the ministry? Teach the Truth, teach the Truth! Right, but why do we need to teach the Truth? If the Truth were a fact all over the place, nobody would need your classroom; if the Truth were a fact, manifesting all over the place, who needs you? Let's all go to a picnic. But the Truth is not a manifesting fact all over the place. These outer things are manifesting facts all over the place, and Jesus said, "Capitalize on that.” Since you cannot prevent it, since it already is now after the fact, then capitalize on it to make friends or to be useful, to serve your fellow human beings. Be the one who is able to see things for what they are, but not just condone things as they are but to bring into expression these things that will stop mammon-worshipping, mammon-serving and instead do some God-serving, God-work.
Q. I thought it was sort of interesting and humorous to read a sign outside a church that read, "We are God's audio-visuals", and I thought that that is the way we can capitalize and help others. That is what we are trying to do.
A. Right. You are an audio-visual for God in the sense that you are the ministry of the word, and you are also an example, as much as possible for that; but we just don't join the ranks of fact-worshipers, at least in the mammon sense. So when Jesus said, "I say unto you, make unto yourself friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness" is another way of saying, "If you have the correct understanding, you can make all things work together for good, even the not-good things. “You have the power to make them serve good." Whereas if you did not apply yourself, that would not happen. It would just be the vicious circle of cause and effect, repeat, repeat, repeat, and there would not be progress. But man is the most unique being in all creation that we know of. Man can take in all aspects of a given situation and then always utilize the freedom of power of choice. He does not have to submit to the majority rule or to one-sidedness. He can always perceive where there are opportunities for choices.
Alright, you know your degree of Truth, but you also are able to face the realm of existing facts, and you see where things are not right and where they are alright. When you encounter something which is of the mammon of unrighteousness-type, then you can make a choice. You can join the mob and cow-tow, you can condone and go along with it, and you will have a perfectly good tailor-made excuse for this. You wear it in your vest pocket and drag it out at any time: "Well, doesn't everybody?"
This is one of the biggest cop-outs for signing membership in the mammon-worshipping temple. "If I don't, someone else will do it before me!" Look at the carpenters now in the Kansas City building trade unions. They are going on strike at a time when the city needs the construction work, vitally needs it, especially downtown; and here you have a bunch of guys who are already making a fantastic wage, beautiful wage, a plentiful one; and what are they doing? Well, the teamsters went on strike, the meat cutters are going to go on strike ... Then they get out their chart and say that they are making seventeen cents a day less than the pipefitters. "Well, we'll go on strike." You see what kind of thinking that is. "We gang up. We don't care that we are getting great wages. We don't care about Kansas City. We don't care that good work will always draw its own right compensation, principle be damned! Mammon be worshipped!" So we have a bad situation coming up, but one of mammon's gifts to these worshippers is that it bestows expertise in self-justification. One of the rewards mammon hands out to his worshippers is this expertise, and we have businesses set up to do that kind of justification, and one of the euphemistic names of mammon-justification-business is called public relations. Public relations is an euphemism for justifying mammon-worship and making it look as respectable as possible. I have just exposed my soul. You can all stop laughing at me as of tomorrow.
Ordinarily, how does the average human being react to something in his outer life which he feels is not right? Now, if he is not careful, he will resent, he will object, he will fight. He does these things either because he has been taught that he should, or he follows blind instinct. He may not realize that by reacting with mechanical negativeness – did you hear the term mechanical? I am not speaking of purposeful, conscious, negativeness. There is a vast difference. There is a place, a validity to conscious negativeness. It is called, "Let your speech be nay, nay or yea, yea." It is using the renunciatory or the elimination faculty for the right reasons. This is the kind of negativness that is kosher, which is spiritual. We are talking about blind, instinctive negativeness, which is an emotional reaction. He does not realize that when we react to not-rightness with mechanical negativeness, what we are really doing is, we may be believing that by doing this we are destroying the mammon of unrighteousness, but we are really adding to its kingdom. I look at a situation in my life, and I feel it is not right. Then I react with blind negativity, mechanical negativeness, and I say, "But I am doing something about it." Oh, I am; but not what I really am intending to do. What I am doing is feeding this and giving it more sustaining power, and without realizing it, I have joined the ranks of serving it. Alright, then, what should we do when we encounter outer things in life which appear to us as not right?” Jesus is not saying to condone them and just put up with them or pretend they are not there: "there is no unrighteousness, there is no....." If you know what you mean when you say that, it is okay, that is a denial. But if you are simply refusing to acknowledge, this is head-in-the-sand-ism and suppression of negative emotions, and that never does anything. So here is where we want to pay particular attention to Jesus’ words. He is saying that instead of serving mammon or even fighting him, we can learn how to use him, how to change him from an object of worship into a servant, so to speak, even an unwilling servant, maybe, but nevertheless as an opportunity to serve God or Truth. His exact words, made to yourself, friends, by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, capitalize on opportunities, either to expose erroneousness or unrighteousness, or to show what can be done in changing it or to somehow neutralize it and transform it into something better.
Now, you counsel me, folks. Since my future apartment is in jeopardy because of the carpenter strike - I have let out my secret, see - I am ready for that thing to get finished so that I can move in, and I read in the paper that the carpenters are on strike and are going to discontinue work on it. Now, I say, "This is wrong. They are serving mammon, and I want my apartment. I'm a Unity minister...." What am I really doing? I am feeding mammon, my negative reactionarism is helping nothing.
Q. Now, I need your counseling. I want you to tell me in the light of what we have been saying and your interpretation of Jesus' words, "What can I do to make that, in my sight, not-right situation right. Help me to make friends somewhere."
A. Just bless these people that are striking. They probably have all kinds of rational reasons why they are on strike. Bless them.
Q. You are right; you are on the right track, but I want you to follow through. How and on what plane, even, will I really be making friends?
A. It will release your anxiety. You will know that they are not the source of your good. You have the answer within yourself.
Q. Let's go forward from there. I agree with everything you say, but how will that help me to make friends, in what way and on what plane, friend with whom? Who will be my new friends? Be very practical about this.
A. The people who are striking.
That is right. You see, what I have done on the mental plane, is to make friends with those strikers. I may never go down and shake their hand and tell them I'm for them and all that, but on the mental plane, in my inner world, my thought of those strikers is that they live, they have an existence to me in my mental world. That is a very real existence they have. They are entities, and I have done something, because of that unlikely situation, to make some new friends on the mental plane in my life. Who is going to benefit? Everybody. And who loses out by just that much, if I do that? Mammon, only mammon loses out. Nobody else.
Q. Occasionally, though, we are overly-cautious in not speaking out in a situation that is unrighteous, because we are taking this approach. There are times where you by honor, are called forth to establish the Truth that you know is so.
A. You are absolutely right, and we have, of course, our supreme example: Jesus. Jesus never hesitated to "rebuke" when rebuking was the therapy. Jesus' rebuking was not mechanical negativeness. It was purposefully-directed-negativeness, which is an altogether different ballgame, because one of the twelve spiritual faculties is nay-nay. To have the Christ-mind direct that faculty for a constructive spiritual purpose, is the Jesus Christ brand of rebuking. Condoning is not a spiritual act, but agreeing with is a different thing, not the same as condoning. Making friend by means of is not condoning, just as rebuking, in the Jesus Christ sense is not mechanical negative reactions.
Q. Mentally, you are making friends with the carpenters, on a mental level?
Q. I see it a little differently, I see you not having the activity necessarily with the carpenters, but making friends with those thoughts and ideas that you held concerning the carpenters.
A. Which would directly affect and benefit the persons of the carpenters?
Q. That is true, but your interests, and I say this for myself, our interests, this metaphysical Bible interpretation is of our own spiritual truth.
A. It is that which is true and right concerning the inner life of every individual. Now, that means not only self but other individuals, so that you don't just contain all metaphysical meaning within the individual person, because it is within all persons. So it is valid to extend it out into other persons.
There are six points of summary that come out of this whole lesson, and I am taking the negative approach:
- We can't hate unrighteousness into righteousness. Hating war will not create peace.
- We can't cry unhappiness into happiness.
- We can't fight illness into becoming health.
- We can't criticize bad behavior into good behavior.
- We can't self-pity our loneliness into right companionship.
- We cannot use wrongness to make rightness, but you can use wrongness as an opportunity for rightness.
Jesus says that he that is faithful in a very little is faithful in much and that if ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous. Now He is making a point there, which is rather subtle and very important, especially for those of us in the ministry to pay attention to. What He is saying here is that you must not save up your best abilities, capabilities, skills, and efforts in preparation for the days when the big, important things are going to happen in your life and in your career. In other words, you must get into the habit of using the best you have to work with the least of situations that come before you to handle, not to save up your highest and best skills and talents and capabilities for the day when the big deals occur; because this is a kind of procrastination which will retard your spiritual unfoldment. You know yourself, folks, when you and I wait for the big deals to come up in our life, we end up by waiting for big deals. When the big deal comes up in our life, we never call it the big deal. We always call it "this is what's happening". That's all.
It is just like "when we become perfect", you are going to look in the mirror, and are you going to call it perfect? You're going to say, "This is me again. Here I am. Take me or leave me, world. Here I am." You see, Jesus understood this. He is always trying to teach people to live in the reality of the moment and call upon your best resources to handle that which is not the best, because if you use your best self only to handle the best happenings, you will end up never using anything for anything. So, use your best self for the less-than-best happenings, and we turn into better; but if we put off using our skills until things are their best, your skills lie unused and remember that when you do not draw from the top drawer of your capabilities, they begin to degenerate and they will soon be bottom drawer. Then, when you need the top drawer, you open it, and there is nothing there. It has degenerated down to bottom drawer. If you are in the habit of always drawing upon your top-drawer abilities to meet and handle even the most mundane and insignificant things in your life, you will find that top drawer is always full. Every time you open it, there has been a little imp that comes in the night and refills that top drawer with whatever you used up in handling the unpleasant and rather boring demands of day-by-day living; but the little imp does not just refill the top drawer according to what was used. He has a little trick up his sleeve: he puts in more. Usage is the law of increase, and doesn't it make just plain, common metaphysical sense that usage of your best self, for all occasions, will increase your best self?
Jesus does not mention this, but what about a day when the big deals will come upon the scene? Some Sunday morning, you are going to walk into your church and suddenly instead of 180, there are 1,800 people; and you are going to blink and say, "When did that happen?" Can you see, folks, that by serving the 180 with your best self, you are going to serve the 1,800 with an even better self, not because the numbers are higher but you have been at it, you have kept in practice, you have kept in shape.
You know, once a minister told me that the service that he worked his hardest on and felt most satisfied with, there was only a handful of people because of a severe thunderstorm; he said it was one of the most heartbreaking approaches to a Sunday service that he had ever had. He said he had a very serious prayer time, and it came to him that yes, it was a severe thunderstorm, very severe, and conditions were hazardous, which was all the more to the credit of the handful who came, those few that came had made an extra effort and taken special risks to come. Therefore they deserved the very, very best. He said he really did give that sermon with all his mind and heart. He could have shoved it in a drawer and pulled out another one that he had ready to give to a smaller group, but he gave the best one to the few who came, and I said, "Well then what"? I was waiting for the big pitch, you know, the Hollywood ending. "That's all. What else do you want me to say?" I guess that was the best ending after all. Jesus says that he that is faithful in very little, if he knows how to take care of the little things, he will know how to take care of the big things.
Remember that Moses had to serve his first 40 years, then his next 40, then his next 40.
Q. It also seems to me that the things that trip you up, as far as growing in consciousness, are the little things. They are not usually the big things, and because they are little, we usually say "This does not make any difference", but that's the thing that gets the ball rolling.
A. You are so right, and you know, folks, I have found in my career, at least, that those incidents which serve as catalysts, that is that bring about drastic changes in your circumstances, are almost always little things. You look back and say, "All that change that brought that about was not that important to have done that." It, in and of itself, was not the important thing; but it was catalystic. There really is such a thing as the straw that will break the camel's back, you see. If your track record is one of good performance, and, of course, drawing upon your highest capabilities for each opportunity to do so, then when the big deals come, you are master of any situation.
Text of the original transcript of p.220 through the 5th paragraph of p.230. Note: the PDF transcript has a page out of order. Page 227 should be moved to be between page 225 and page 226.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-08-2014