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EBUP31: Discover the Power Within You -8- The Gospel of Prosperity

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #31

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Discover the Power Within You -8- The Gospel of Prosperity

In other words, Jesus’ gospel of prosperity is tremendously needed in our time, when there’s a great deal of interest in trying to solve the shortages of the world and to somehow take care of the needs in our cities, in providing means for the poor and so forth, to get the realization that Jesus states clearly and implies constantly that there is a legitimate, loyal abundance for every living creature.


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We’re continuing today with a series of Sunday morning sessions devoted to the study of my book Discover the Power Within You. Today, we’re dealing with the Gospel of Prosperity.

A number of years ago, walking in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in the ruins of ancient Pompeii, I had an inspiration that has been very revealing to me. It was a thought of how mankind in general has so often missed the potential good that is available. I remember standing watching some men excavating an area of Pompeii, and there was a sign there, a street sign that said The Street of Abundance.

As these men were laboriously unearthing centuries of volcanic ash and lava from this place, the realization came that, in a way, this is the great lesson in life because all of our streets should really be streets of abundance. Jesus said, “I am come that you may have life and may have it abundantly.” This is a message that has not generally been accepted because there has been a covering over of the lives of most of us, the constant volcanic ash and lava flow of human consciousness and self-limiting attitudes that we’ve been subjected to all of our lives.

The great need is to reverse some of these attitudes and to unearth some of the ideals of abundance which are basic to life. Therefore, I would like us to consider today some of the very simple, almost naïve, yet tremendously important insights expressed in the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. Jesus’ teachings have been almost totally emasculated by erroneous translations. We refer to these from time to time. Some of them are so very simple that the tremendous insight is missed because we’ve accepted a purely materialistic or apparent insight which obscures a tremendous and very deep and very moving and very wonderful truth.

For instance, in the Beatitude which we considered a few weeks ago, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” For centuries, all down through the ages and the organization of the Christian church and the theological positions that have been built upon some very simple realizations, it has been accepted that it is a grace to be poor. Oh, there have been a lot of rationalizations of this, the rationalization especially if the preacher needed a new roof on the church, he tried very hard to help the rich person present not to feel too badly about it; he needed him. But on the other hand, he would spend his time in his sermons talking about how bad it was to be rich and what a grace it was to be poor. Tremendous inconsistency.

But as we pointed out in our study of the Beatitudes, the idea of blessed are the poor in spirit actually is obscured because of a mistranslation. Basically, this is the poor in pride. The word spirit here has the connotation in that usage to pride, to consciousness. Blessed are those who are humble, blessed are those who have an attitude of meekness. There’s an oriental thought, meekness compels God himself. In other words, it’s not being totally weak and meek in terms of the relationship to people, but being receptive and open to the divine flow within. Blessed to this person who keeps himself consciously in the divine flow, and he shall inherit the earth. He shall manifest the abundance of the infinite.

In other words, Jesus’ gospel of prosperity is tremendously needed in our time, when there’s a great deal of interest in trying to solve the shortages of the world and to somehow take care of the needs in our cities, in providing means for the poor and so forth, to get the realization that Jesus states clearly and implies constantly that there is a legitimate, loyal abundance for every living creature. We live in an opulent universe, as Olga so artfully expressed in her meditation time. In other words, it is not for lack of means or lack of abundance that people experience want, but for lack of the knowledge, of the consciousness, of the faith that there is abundance for all. It’s a very important insight, very difficult for one to see as long as he’s been conditioned to the idea of lack and of materiality in life, but one that we must work to become aware of no matter what our level of experience may be in our materialistic society.

We’re dealing today with the continuing consideration of the Sermon on the Mount. Today, the 6th chapter of Matthew, the 19th through the 34th verses. We’re going to take this a segment at a time, line by line, because I believe that this is a segment of the sermon which every person who goes to business in our society should certainly be familiar with and would do well to read over at least once a week to keep the right perspective between the allness of materiality and the allness of the infinite process.

This segment begins, “Lay not up for yourself treasures upon the earth where moth and rust consume and where thieves break through and steal, but lay out for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth consume and where thieves do not break through nor steal, for where thy treasure is, there thy heart will be also.” Now this might appear on the first reading and on the surface that Jesus is against thrift, against the making and saving of money, and, of course, this would be rather incongruous with the needs of our society.

But in Jesus’ day, you see, they didn’t have banks, they didn’t have building and loan societies, that if a person had any kind of accumulated wealth, which was normally very little, it was in the form of metallic objects or perhaps occasional pieces of silk or some other valuable thing. They had nowhere to take care of it, so normally it was hidden in walls of the primitive type of structures that were used so that this type of accumulation was constantly in danger of rusting out or wearing out or being stolen.

Now wealth is objectified thought. This has always been true, though sometimes we lose the awareness of it. Doesn’t make any difference what you have in terms of a possession. It is valuable only as we see it as being valuable. It is valuable according to the relevant values that society has upon its material objects, but basically, it is objectifyed thought. The true need in our lives is not with more objects but with the thought that is objectified in the form of objects. To lay up treasure in heaven, we think of the speech he’s using, means to build up in consciousness an attitude of faith, a realization of our oneness with the divine flow, the feeling of inner security.

A good illustration of this, though a very simple one, is that of a spider. The spider simply unreels his web as he needs it, and he does phenomenal things in this process. Yet, the spider would probably be in cumbersome and totally unwieldy form of life if he carried with him tangled bundles and bales of webbing to use. He would never be able to get off the ground. The great mystery is how he is able to unreel and unfurl all that he needs as he needs it. This is the kind of character and consciousness that we think of in terms of our own realization of life.

One of the things that I think we need to get a right attitude about in this sense of prosperity is money, money. It’s one of the great problems in life, and I think many folks think of it as a problem because they don’t have enough of it, but basically, the problem with money is the attitude toward money. Now we’re all aware of the fact that it has traditionally been taught that money is the root of all evil, and I’m sure that most folks would agree that that’s what the Bible says. The fact is that that isn’t what the Bible says at all. It’s a lie. The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil. Paul was the one who made the statement, and he says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Money is innocent. There’s nothing wrong with money, you see. It’s the love of money, it’s the misplaced sense of value is where we tend to make a god of material things. This is the problem.

It is important that we get a right understanding about this material means, this system of exchange called money because it has a very important influence upon our life, especially if we have the wrong attitude. It is intended to be a symbol of the free flow of substance, but for most persons, money becomes a symbol of lack. I’ve used the sort of example often of asking you to tell me how much money you have in your purse or your wallet. The average individual takes out his pocketbook and counts up. He’ll say, “I only have $23.85,” and I ask the question, “Why the only?”

If you ask a person who is a multimillionaire or a multibillionaire, we hear so much about billionaires these days, and he says, “What are you worth?” He would say, “Well, I’m only worth $3,285,673,000 etc., etc., but still the only. Why the only? It is that consciousness of the only that keeps us in bondage. Even though we may continually seek to accumulate more and more and more and more, we always feel poorer and poorer and poorer because it is a symbol of limitation rather than a symbol of abundance. This is the slight turning of the attitude and consciousness that can change our whole life so that we take away the only, so that we can say, “Praise God, I have $22. Beautiful, isn’t it wonderful? Praise God, I only have a dollar.” Eliminate the only, I should say. I’m going to bend that consciousness, too. “Praise God, I have a dollar.” It’s very hard to get out of this attitude. Praise God, I only have ... only. Praise God, I have a penny.” Would somebody else do this for me?

But you see what I mean, it’s this attitude that has become such a fixation in consciousness that has kept us collectively and individually in the experience of lack and of difficulties in life. In other words, if you have a dollar bill, the dollar bill is a symbol of a universe of substance. This is what it’s intended to be. It’s a symbol of substance, and it becomes a medium of exchange and can do tremendous things. But a dollar bill or a 10 dollar bill or a 1,000 dollar bill will always be little more in its true power, its non-material force, which is its real force, that which we see it as being. It becomes the length and the shadow of your own consciousness or the consciousness of the person who uses it, you see.

Now Jesus is saying, “Don’t work or spend all your time and all your thought and all your waking hours trying to devise ways of amassing money, because this can only lead to the amassing of a lot of misfortune.” In other words, seek instead to amass a great faith in the divine flow. Expand your awareness of being an integral part of the universe and to the degree that you have that concept and consciousness, that flow will always manifest, the things will come, and there will always be the means and the additional symbols that you need to take care of the needs of life.

Now Jesus wasn’t against money. I think it’s important that we recognize this. As a matter of fact, it could be said that it took a good bit of money for Jesus to get around the country with his band of followers. Maybe not the kind of money that’s needed today in our society, in our inflated economy, but they had to have some money. They had to eat. If they stayed in any kind of a lodging place that wasn’t just the out of doors, and they probably did occasionally, it took money. Somebody had to pay the bill. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about that?

There’s an interesting statement in the scriptures. You may not like it, you may wish it were not there, but like a lot of these ideas, they’re there in the scriptures and they imply something very important. This is a very obscure statement that I doubt if it’s rarely talked about or preached about. It says, “Certain women among them ministered unto them of their substance.” What do you suppose that means? Some of the gals picked up the tab.

People are drawn to someone like Jesus with many talents, some of them like disciples, perhaps ultimately the talents for carrying the message out into the world. Some of them had the talent of wealth and position, and, therefore, they were able occasionally to add their little bit in terms of making it all possible, in relating this idealistic concept and consciousness to the materialistic needs of the world.

There’s a statement that one of the biographers makes about the great Gandhi in India. Gandhi has always had the very interesting image, and a very beautiful one, too, of going about in his loin cloth and his little spinning wheel and projecting the image of poverty, and he sincerely believed this. But one of his followers, who was sort of one of his lieutenants who had to face the responsibility of occasionally arranging to pick up the tab, he said, “I want to tell you, it takes an awful lot of money to keep Gandhi in his poverty.”

This is a kind of a behind-the-scene thing, but it’s a very important thing because it helps us to realize that when you deal with consciousness, obviously consciousness must attract the ways and means of relating itself and its experiences to a world where you have to pay the rent and you have to buy things, you see. Though it says, “Jesus went forth without script or purse,” he went forth without being limited to the kind of symbols in the same way that the spider, as we said, will go forth without carrying the bundles of substance by which to build nests, the webs. But the important thing was there was a consciousness by which there would always manifest the means and the ways and the methods of dealing with the world’s responsibilities and paying the bills, and that, I think, is a very important thing for us.

You recall the time when Jesus was tripped up by the Roman tax collectors and they wanted him to pay tax. There’s a very interesting little sidelight in the story. Jesus simply said to Peter, “You go and catch a fish and you will find a gold coin in his mouth, and give it to the tax collectors.” He did this, and this has always been thought of as one of those great miracles wrought by Jesus. Well, there’s no need to downgrade experiences of Jesus’ life and demonstration and to say there are no such things as miracles. Neither is there any way to over-exaggerate what actually happened.

Lamsa, the Syrian scholar who deals with a lot of these things idiomatically, he says it was a very common idiom in his day, much like the common idiom that we found out in the western regions of the United States when we talk about the cattle being worth $30 on the hoof, and in India they might use the other expression that would say this oxen has three pieces of silver in his horn, that Jesus was saying, “Look, Peter, you’re a fisherman. We have a need. Go out and catch a load of fish, and the fish will have a gold coin in their mouth, which means you’ll take it to market and you’ll sell it and get the money and pay the tax,” you see. A perfectly simple, logical explanation, and it’s unfortunate some of these logical explanations coming out of the knowledge of the idiom have obscured a very practical basis of what is otherwise a very dynamic spiritual truth.

The methods and the means may manifest in various ways. Your substance and supply may not come as you sit at home with a great big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow coming and dumping itself in your lap. It may come in many ways. It may come through a raise in salary, through a different job, a knock on the door that talks about some kind of an opportunity for you. It may come in many ways, but we live in a world in which there are many different responsibilities and methods and means, and because we live in spiritual consciousness doesn’t mean that we float around totally outside of the relationship with the world, you see. This is a very important thing. Jesus went forth without script and purse, which meant that he was not limited or bound to having to carry with him all the substance and the things that they needed, but he had the consciousness which would always attract the people, the situations, the opportunities by which the needs of this band would always be met. And this is the key, a very important key.

Then it goes on, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light, but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in me be darkness, how great is the darkness?” Tennyson in his poem The Ancient Sage says, “The world is full of griefs and graves. Who knows but that the darkness is within man?” In our time, we could say the news every day in the papers and the television and the radio reveals threats of insecurity and lack and shortages everywhere, but who knows that the real problem is in our own consciousness? In other words, they could have no influence upon you unless they happen in you.

True sight is insight. You see things not as they are, but as you are. How do you see them? How do you react? What do you think about the news about shortages and layoffs and so forth? We’ve tended to limit the effectiveness of our thought by thinking reactively. As we mentioned last Tuesday, many folks go through most of their lives and never really have a creative thought in their experience because thought is always thinking about this or about that and about some other thing. Few people really get still in the realization of their oneness with infinite mind and let mind express itself through them. In other words, begin to think the kind of thoughts that lead to the kind of experiences that you want to see manifest in your life. This is creative thinking. Things may happen around you, true. Things may happen to you, certainly. But the only things that really count are the things that happen in you.

We tend to think about what happens around us and to us. As Paul says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your mind from within. In other words, realize that you’re a spiritual being, that your mind is intended to be an activity of infinite mind expressing as you, and, therefore, you can think prosperous thoughts. You can get into a consciousness of affluence and begin to attract to you that kind of circumstances no matter what is going on in the world, no matter that there is unemployment, no matter that there are being layoffs and so forth. Your consciousness will attract to you that which is the reflection or the objectification of your own inner states of mind. This is fundamental, you see.

In other words, the need is to begin to think creatively. Listen to the inward call of abundance and think that thought. Reflect as Olga would have you do this morning, reflect on the realization of this opulent universe, of abundance which is everywhere. Reflect on the realization that this universe is being objectified as you. You are created in its image likeness. It is flowing, flowing, rushing, streaming into and through you. Thus, there can be no limitation except that you acknowledge limitation and let that be the objectified part of your life.

This is the important thing. Take time to reflect upon this realization of oneness and let it speak its prosperous word with you. If you let the world around you turn off the lights in you, if you say, “Oh, look, I heard today, oh, it’s terrible, terrible, terrible,” then your world will be full of darkness and you will begin to expect bad experiences, bad treatment, financial losses, and you probably won’t be disappointed because your expectation will fulfill themselves in your experience. “That which I have feared comes upon me,” said Job.

All right, we continue on, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” What this is saying is that what we acknowledge to be our master, to that we will always become the servant. Whatever we acknowledge to be our master, we become a slave to it. This is universal law, and there’s no escape from it. If we make a god of materiality, if things and money and positions of power become all important to us, the focus of our attention, all right, and this becomes what our life is, but we also become totally enslaved to the fluctuations of the economy. Things drop and things go down, and we’re always fearful, anxious, resistant, and affected tremendously in every way. Whether in consciousness and fear or thought or whether in actual manifestation in dollars and cents, the effect is always felt in the person who has become a slave to these things. This is where it is, in other words.

Antoinette Bourignon, a 17th century French religious leader, as a very young girl was being forced by her parents into an unwelcome marriage at a time when the parents always arranged the marriage, but the girl in her mind had given her life to God and wanted to spend her whole experience in religious service. So, unable to dissuade the parents from their plan, she decided to run away. One morning, she arose very early and she prepared herself to leave, taking with her just the clothes on her back, but finally, at the last minute, she went back and she picked up a penny, perhaps a sou, being in France, and she decided that this would enable her to buy bread during this day. Suddenly, as she was leaving the house, she heard almost as a voice coming from within herself, obviously her own superconscious mind, “Where is your faith? In a penny?” Suddenly, she remembered, and she turned back and left the penny at home and went on her way. Went out into a whole, beautiful life experience of creative endeavor.

William James in his Varieties of Religious Experience commenting upon this makes the statement, “The penny was a small financial safeguard, but an effective spiritual obstacle.” Because, obviously, she couldn’t take enough money with her to take care of all the needs for bread, but to even entertain the thought that this will buy me bread today would tend to become an effective spiritual obstacle which would keep her in the consciousness of limitation, always thinking, “Where is the next penny going to come from?” But when she went in total faith, as Jesus would say, without script or purse, and she went in the awareness of her oneness with the divine flow.

Now that may seem to be difficult to apply in our own conscious, and there’s a very important thing. If you’re going to take some time to reflect upon some of the problems of your own life, ask yourself, “Where are the effective spiritual obstacles in my life, in the areas where I think, well, this is my financial safeguard?” There’s nothing wrong with having financial safeguards, except no man can serve two masters. If that becomes the object and the goal or the all-in-all of everything, then whether we know it or not, we’re serving mammon, and that can very well become an effective spiritual obstacle. Sometimes retirement programs are this or all the little nest eggs that we lay. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things. What is wrong, if there is a wrong, is the attitude we have toward them, the way we deal with them, the way we think, “This is going to take care of my needs. Without it, I have nothing. With it, I have everything.” You’re serving mammon, you see.

You may well be and probably should be guided and directed in terms of taking care of the needs, in terms of saving and so forth, but always knowing that your real security, your real source of substance is in the divine flow within, not in things out here. Then you are not afraid of the fluctuations of the market or what may happen in the world because you have your security based upon your own innate relationship to the universe, which will always keep you in perfect peace, will always keep you in perfect security. In that consciousness, strangely enough, in ways that we perhaps can’t understand intellectually, the nest eggs and the retirement programs will be wonderful and provident and just right for us at the time of need, but somehow there’s a consciousness that is at work which is regulating and rectifying and controlling, adjusting outer things to inner needs and there will always be abundance. That’s the important thing.

But we go on, “Therefore, I say unto you be not anxious for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink or yet for your body what you shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body than raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven that they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit under the measure of his life, and why are you anxious? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not. Neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these, but if God so clothed the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

Obviously, this is a very beautiful, poetic illustration dealing with our relationship to life, but having us realize that we’re one with nature, and the same process is involved everywhere, and it should cause us all to blush just a little bit because how much of our waking thought is devoted to what we eat, what we drink, what we’re going to wear, and usually a great deal of thought about whether we’re gaining weight or losing weight and so forth. Jesus is saying, “Is your worry or your anxious thought going to make you change your stature or pay your bills or make your work succeed?” It’s a very important question.

We tend to lose our perspective, and we do this so easily in our time when mammon becomes the rule of our society and, unfortunately, it becomes a predominant influence in those who study metaphysics, because sometimes metaphysical teachings are oriented toward the idea of taking care of mammon by manifesting the means through which mammon can be regulated and controlled, but it still becomes a mammon orientation, even if we use metaphysical treatment in order to realize it. We tend to assume that there’s nothing in the world that is more important than getting the new apartment, getting the raise in salary, getting the better position of authority, getting the new contract or the sporty car or whatever.

Jesus is saying to this person, and that means to you and me, “Occasionally,” as Thoreau would suggest in his Walden, “just go out and sit in the fields and watch the birds and get a relationship with nature and see how the birds or the flowers or the trees are not worrying about a new spring dress or tomorrow’s food, and yet they’re abundantly provided for. Can you not believe that you are much more than they in this great creative part of the universe?” It’s a very important thing. In other words, it’s an incentive to occasionally take time to get away from the purely logical realization that these things are important and get a sense of the importance of your relatedness transcendentally in the universe of creativity and in the great orderly process which is everywhere. He says then, “Be not therefore anxious saying, ‘What shall we eat or what shall we drink or where with all shall be clothed?’ for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these things but seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Tremendously important realization.

The only true freedom and security that a person ever has is in his faith, not in the things, not in what he has stored away in the walls or the vaults or in his bank accounts, in his faith, in his consciousness, his attitude of oneness with the divine flow. In other words, don’t worry about your health. Seek the consciousness of wholeness. Don’t worry about your money, but seek the consciousness of opulence. This is where it starts. In the business world, there is a predominant delusion that capital or principal, P-A-L, is all that counts. And this is not essentially true, and many of the great economists and many of the great so-called bears of Wall Street or captains of industry have demonstrated this is not the truth. Any successful business venture demonstrates that integrity and service are the key to the kind of public confidence that creates the success, that it’s a non-material thing.

J.P. Morgan once said, when he was asked about making big loans on slender credit, and he did this often, he said, “I look at the person’s character before I look at his collateral.” In other words, he was more concerned with what a person was worthy of than what he was worth. In every case, the real capital is principle, P-L-E, so Jesus is saying seek first the principle, P-L-E, seek first the consciousness of divine law, seek first the fundamental awareness of the opulence of the universe. Get that attitude and feeling and faith rooted in that inner realization, and the principal, P-A-L, will follow. The money, the things, the opportunities, and the jobs will come to the person who is rooted and grounded in the consciousness of divine law. This is a very important message of Jesus and one which every student of truth, certainly, should spend a great deal of time reflecting on.

Then he goes on, “Be not therefore anxious for the morrow for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Even in Jesus’ time and perhaps through all time, one of the great causes of worry has been tomorrow. One of the first limitations experienced by cavemen if we want to think of cavemen or cave-people, if you will, was the sense of, well, I have the provision for now, but what will we do tomorrow? I have enough fuel to burn the fire in front of the cave today, but what’ll happen when the fuel runs out? This is when man first began to experience stomach ulcers and a lot of other, the heart and circulatory problems that come as a result of stress. In other words, often people say and experience the feeling and the fear of I have enough for today, but what am I going to do tomorrow? The truth is, and all great spiritual teachers and Jesus great among them would say, “Live one day at a time. Live today as if this were the only day of your life, which it certainly is.”

In the Lord’s Prayer, which normally has been rendered, “Give us this day our daily bread. Please, God, give us enough for this day,” actually says, as we pointed out a few weeks ago, possibly last week, I can’t recall, that this is in the Greek aorist mood, which says, “Thou dost give us this day and every day our daily bread.” In other words, it’s an affirmation of this is the way the universe works, through divine law. There is always a constancy of the divine flow moving, rushing, streaming into us and through us if we know it, if we accept it, if we see ourselves in right relation. Jesus was affirming that because you are God’s living enterprise, you are the activity of God expressing as you, there is within you a built-in flow of substance. That’s the way the universe is organized, and that’s your relationship to it if you can know it, if you can accept it, if you can tune in to it and get yourself in that consciousness.

In the so-called miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, we’re told that Jesus, faced with all of these hungry people and the realization that all they had was five loaves and two fish, that he looked up and gave thanks. The usual inference is that he looked up to heaven, looked up to God up in the air and said, “Oh, God, now you see our need. Please give it to us.” But that wasn’t Jesus’ way. He looked up, meaning he looked away from the lack. He had this substance here. He had just so much, and anybody would say, “How could you possibly feed 5,000 people with this little bit of a boy’s lunch?” But he looked away from that. He saw it as a symbol, not that we only have five loaves and two fish, but we have this evidence of divine substance. He looked away from the limitation of it, but his consciousness centered and rooted in the realization of the infinite flow of substance, and then they simply passed out the food that they had and there was abundance and enough left over to fill 12 basketsful.

Now obviously, there are many, many possibilities here. Again, George Lamsa, who first pointed my attention to the idea of the certain women among them ministered to them of their substance, had the expression and the audacity, as some religious leaders would say, to point out that, first of all, something must have happened that was not only phenomenal but that was actually very realistic, logical, because after all, somewhere they turned up with 12 baskets to gather up the extra pieces. Where did the baskets come from? Lamsa would say, very audaciously. Not supposed to question those things. This is God’s law manifesting.

Lamsa would say that obviously, something happened, and who would know but that perhaps a couple of merchants in nearby cities, realizing this great gathering was out there and perhaps hungry to be there themselves and yet wanting somehow to be a part of the process, knowing they were going into a weekend when they had some leftovers, decided to send out provisions. The camel train arrived just at the right time with all the baskets laden with substance and they were all fed and there was enough to spare and basketsful left over. Some would say, “Well, you’re just putting down the idea that this could possibly be a miracle.” I’m not putting it down. This is what Lamsa says.

And it really doesn’t matter, as far as I’m concerned, except to know that when we deal in a world where substance and supply and money are required from time to time, it is not logical for us to assume that we’re going to deal with material needs in ways that refuse to accept materiality as a manifestation of substance. In other words, the money to pay the bill. It’s perfectly logical for me that this might be a solution or any other, even though I’m convinced that in terms of one’s relationship to the divine flow, there can be in ways that most of us as yet do not understand, a manifestation of substance materializing itself to feed all the people present.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that he looked away from the lack, the only five loaves and two fishes, and tuned himself to the consciousness of an infinite universal substance and simply let it happen. That really is where I like to leave it, because it points our consciousness to the realization that the great need in our life is not the emptiness that surrounds us but the tremendous opulence that indwells us, the consciousness of it, the realization of let it happen, let the will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

What this helps us to understand is that the only true lack is the thought of lack. This is the problem in our society. The only true lack is the thought of lack. A person can be broke and still not be poor. A person can be rich with millions and still not be rich in attitude and in feeling because there is this thought of what if, the fluctuations of the economy. The only true lack is the absence of faith in the constancy of divine supply. In other words, lack is not a thing. It’s a state of consciousness, and the state of consciousness that objectifies itself in lack cannot be corrected by handouts.

This is something that our society has yet to learn, that you cannot correct poverty by so-called charity. It may help temporarily. It may be the small financial safeguard, but in the long run, it may become the effective spiritual obstacle, and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we’re going to begin to take the kind of steps collectively which Jesus suggests individually in solving problems of lack in the world. Paul says, “My God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches.” Every need is supplied by this divine flow, but mind you, he does not say that God will take care of all the lack in the world. God cannot supply or fill or fulfill lack. Why? Because lack is a limited state of mind. Lack is not an empty vessel, but it’s the negative attitude about the empty vessel.

You see, a person may have an empty pocketbook and yet have perfect faith that he is secure and his substance will manifest, and so the pocketbook being empty simply means it’s ready to be filled, but the person who has an empty pocketbook or an empty bank account and is filled with fear and, oh my, oh my, my life is over, he has the consciousness of lack and all the handouts and all the charity will not correct the situation unless he corrects that attitude in consciousness. The place to overcome lack, ultimately the place to overcome unemployment and all the difficulties which an economy such as ours experience is in consciousness.

There’s a classic illustration that has been told and retold, and that is that a picture cord that is perfectly attuned to a certain note on the piano will instantly sing out whenever the note is struck. You’ve had that happen in your home, perhaps, if you have pictures with wires on the back of them. Maybe the radio will play a tune and every once in a while, suddenly the picture cord goes “huuummm” because it picks up the vibration which is coming from that source of music.

Consciousness in terms of limited attitudes will forever respond and vibrate with every thought about lack and every projected idea or information about lack in the world so that you may hear or read or someone in the office may say, “Oh, it’s going to be rough. We’re going to have some difficult times ahead,” if the consciousness is centered in lack, there will be a response to that, a vibration of it, and it will begin to have its effect in your life. But if your consciousness is in tune with the divine flow, if you believe that you are a child of God, a spiritual being, that you are God’s living enterprise, then there will constantly be this free flow of substance within you. You believe it, you have faith in it, and you will see it manifest, no matter the changes in the world around you.

Poverty has been one of the great problems in the consciousness of mankind. It’s become almost a fixation, and as long as we continue to treat it as a condition, it will always be present to be dealt with. In other words, the great need in our society is to teach people to alter their thoughts, to think in terms of oneness with an abundant universe. People need to know that they can control their lives by taking charge of their own consciousness, of their own thoughts, taking responsibility for their own minds, that they can harness inner resources, become creative thinkers, and find the ways manifesting to their talents and their abilities and to the so-called opportunities and so forth by which they can be led to abundance.

Lift up your eyes. This is the key. Stop seeing things as they appear to be, stop identifying with lack, realize that you live in a sea of substance, that you’re one with a radiant opulent universe and if you will, as Jesus suggests, occasionally go and sit out in the fields, especially in the springtime when the crocuses begin to manifest and the grasses and the shrubs and the trees begin to flower forth, and get the sense of you’re a part of this creative process. These forms of life did not sit throughout all the winter worrying about where their spring grass is going to come from. They simply let it happen.

Get the feeling that you are part of that same process, believe it, and let your hands be automatic expressions which will lead you out into the world of service but which will tune you in to the experiences and the opportunities by which outwardly there will be a manifestation of the substance and the opportunities and the added salaries and the new jobs and the situations of affluence and so forth. But it will come because of consciousness.

Now economists have long debated whether everyone can enjoy prosperity, and quite often someone reflects or at least gives somewhat of a relationship to the idea of Thomas Malthus, the British economist in the early 19th century, who set forth the theory of the ultimate depletion of the earth’s ability to provide for an expanding population. This is why we have this great concern about the population explosion because of the question of whether there can be enough substance, whether there is enough means upon the earth to take care of and to feed and house and clothe all persons in an expanding population. You see, Jesus’ gospel of prosperity tends to refute the negative attitudes. The difference is he was dealing, as he said, with a kingdom not of this world.

I’m not talking about a kingdom that was way out and rooted somewhere out beyond the clouds. He was not dealing with a relationship of life that was limited by material standards, and the new science today, interestingly enough, verifies the need to deal with what they call the reality of the non-material. It may well be, and I strongly believe that it will happen in this way, that the so-called energy shortage may eventually be resolved when we begin to think of non-material sources of energy, not this gooey stuff that we have to transport across the world in what I call the horse-and-buggy age of communicating energy from one place to another, but when we begin to realize that energy is everywhere, in all things, and find totally new ways of harnessing it in the discovery of material means of giving expression to it.

But that will not come until we lift up our eyes. As long as we’re looking at the loaves and fishes, we’re going to be constantly working in how to carry the oil faster or dig the coal better or get the workers to go back so that we have coal at all, and we’ll be thinking totally and completely in terms of materiality, worshiping mammon. When we let go of this and begin to realize that we live in a spiritual universe, that non-material energy, non-material substance is the reality which is everywhere present, and thus begin to let the mind work in this higher vibration and give expression to new methods and new means.

I suspect that the time will come, as I mentioned last Tuesday, perhaps a thousand years from now, when people on the earth will look back and see the time when we were carrying this gooey stuff across the earth and the Arabs brought the oil to the surface and we carried it around the canals and occasionally the boats broke up and we brought it in and it went through pipes and trucks to put it into homes and businesses and so forth and all this ridiculous thing, they would have thought how could people have been so primitive? I believe that will happen, but it will happen only as man progressively lifts up his eyes and gives thanks and attunes himself to a spiritual universe and to the realization of substance which can never be lacking, the realization of the omnipresence of substance. Then we will know, certainly, what Jesus had in mind when he said, “I came that you may have life and may have it abundantly.”

You see, Jesus’ concept reveals, and Charles Fillmore put into words, that not only is it not a grace to be poor, but it is a sin to be poor, a sin in terms of the larger realization of sin meaning a missing of the mark. This is what sin really means. The word came from the Anglo-Saxon, S-Y-N-E, a term that was used in target practice. When the person stood up in the archery line and took aim at the target, he let his arrow fly, if he missed the target, this was called a sin.

When we miss the realization of our oneness with divine supply, this is a sin, and so it’s a sin to be poor, not in the sense that it’s something to be ashamed of, but it realizes that we have some inner growth to do, that change can only come about if we alter our level of consciousness, lift up our eyes and give thanks and know that we have our own direct pipeline to infinite substance, which, as we realize it in consciousness, will open the way to the methods and the means and the context by which it will manifest in the world around, and this is important, you see. And as more and more people lay hold of the concept of the divinity of man and begin to see themselves in the context of wholeness, then they will claim abundance for themselves and become an influence for the establishment of a world in which prosperity for all shall be the bountiful realization ever present, and praise God for this.

Now let’s be still for just a moment. I would like you to just realize with me once again that which we started out with at the early part of this hour, that we live in a universe of abundance, of opulence, of prodigality. There is never a limit, only limited attitudes, only a lack of faith. So, let’s just give thanks right now, right here in this place that our resource, our security is in no way limited to what is in our pocketbook, what is in our bank account, what is in the kind of job opportunities it faces, that our resource is not of this world, not of this human consciousness. It is a non-material source. We live in it, we move in it, we have our being in it.

Let’s give thanks for it. Let’s give thanks that as we go forth from this place, that consciousness, that inner awareness of divine security will lead us with a great feeling of faith, knowing that whatever happens, there will always be the means manifesting in perhaps strange ways, in miraculous ways, and in naturally orderly ways but manifesting to meet the needs almost in the same way as the spider dropping down from the rafters, simply unfurling the thread that is needed as it is needed without any sense of where it’s coming from. Praise God for this consciousness. This is the gospel of prosperity and the gospel, the word gospel means good news. This is the good news. Go out and experience it. Let it manifest, let it become a fundamental realization of your life so it is certainly thoughts about life. Praise God for this.