Chapter 20 — You Can’t Beat Spiritual Law
The law is that what I give out comes back to me multiplied. Then the way to success of any kind, as I may convince myself by experience, is to begin giving out what I want to have come back. If I have no money, obviously I cannot give money. But money is the mere symbol of service, and I can always give service of some kind.
The way for me to give is to give something that I have to the person nearest to me who needs it most, without expectation of return from him or her, knowing that God is my paymaster and that He is the best of all paymasters. “He will pay me and He will pay me well; He will not fail to pay me,” writes Basil King. He will begin paying me when I begin working exclusively for Him. He will not let me work on and on without any encouragement or sign of His approval, just to see how long I can stand it. He will give me the help I need, because He cannot help giving it. He too conforms to the law, because He is the law. Let us try to remember, you and I, that we are working with real law all the time. If you turn on the electric current, you get light or heat, because you are obeying a law. If you obey the law you cannot help getting light or heat. Well, if you turn on the law of giving, you cannot help receiving, can you?
The greatest blessing that ever came into my life—and I mean concrete, material blessing, too, and not some imaginary or vague uplift of spirit—came when I took up a bit of service I was asked to perform at a time when I was in what I thought desperate straits for material things. It looked as if there was not a chance in the world that any money would come to me as a result of this service. It was not a service for which money is paid. I have never been paid for it in money. As I continued in the service I did not see that it produced any opportunity to get money. All that it produced was the opportunity to give more unremunerative service. Plenty of people were willing to have me serve them in certain ways. But I had made up my mind that giving was the way to receiving, and I had the sense to stick to it—or I may better say, I was led to stick to it simply because I was trying to find out how to obey the law. I thought it was not going to pay. I was accustomed to saying that I had tried everything and that nothing produced for me, and I grew discouraged and desperate. But all the time I got along; I was taken care of—in what I thought little ways and ways that did not satisfy me, to be sure; but I was encouraged to go on serving.
Emerson says: “If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer.” I read that over and over and learned it and repeated it and thought it and believed it. Then I learned by heart what Jesus says: “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” And I repeated that, and repeated it, and believed it, and stuck to my giving—giving everything I had to the thing I was called upon to do.
I am not setting myself up as a model for you. I am simply telling you about a method that did for me what you want done for you. It is like repeating to you a recipe for bread that I once found made good bread, and telling you that it will make good bread for you also if you will follow it exactly. This was my experience when I began to give service: Presently things began to come to me in unexpected ways from sources that to all appearances were entirely unconnected with the work I was doing, and I began to get fulfillment of my heart’s desires. I cannot detail all the things that happened to me; but I can tell you this: I found that the way out of an individual trouble is exactly what Jesus says it is. Why not follow it just as carefully as you would follow a bread recipe? that is, put in all the ingredients in full measure. For “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you.” Just let go of worry, and believe that the law is going to work. It is; because when people are really willing to do all they really know as their share, if it is law, it never fails to work.
Let us apply the principle. Does not your own experience teach you that it will prove itself ? If you want a job, begin giving service somewhere along that line. Let us see; God says that if you will commit your ways to Him, He will direct your paths. If you do not know what vocation you should be in, give your services along any line, and your particular line will open to you. “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” So you will find everything that your heart desires: health, money, friends, success, the development of your talents, home, prosperity, love, happiness. For God, if He is law, does not stint anybody. God is the law of love, and He loves you. He sets you the example that He wants you to follow; He gives, gives lavishly, regardless of return, patiently, joyously. Suppose we try His method. Imitate God. He knows how to obey His own law, because He is the law itself!
I do not mean to preach at you. As a matter of fact, I am merely rejoicing on paper that this is all true and that it has been given me to find it out. The blessing of finding it out came through practicing the law of giving and receiving at a time when I seemed not to have a thing in the world to give except an idea or two that I thought somebody else might use. I mean to continue to practice the application of this law, just as I practice paying my fare on the trolley line knowing I shall get a ride. Both laws work in the same way. They do! And they never “slip up,” if I may use such an expression for the sake of emphasis. Never! Never! They cannot. Things are made that way! Seeds grow to plants when they are planted. All the service that you give out brings its return. These are your planting: deeds, words, thoughts—everything.