EBS36: The Law Of Compensation

Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #36

Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 4, 1975

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Jesus did not teach that salvation is free. The rich young man was informed that it would require giving away all that he had. Jesus spoke so frequently of blessings and rewards that many of us have come to think of compensation as the return we can realize from God and from life—but this attitude leads to disappointment. According to the Law of Compensation, there is no such thing as getting something for nothing. Every day is a day of judgment in which the balance is struck between giving and receiving.

It is easy to sum up Jesus’ teaching on the Law of Compensation: “Give and it shall be given unto you; judge not that ye be not judged; with what measure ye eat it shall be measured unto you.” To this Paul adds: “Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” Emmet Fox, commenting on this teaching, said, “If the average man understood for a single moment the meaning of these words and really believed them to be true, he would immediately revolutionize his whole life from top to bottom, turn his everyday conduct inside out, and he would be so changed that his closest friends would hardly know him.”

The universe has absolute integrity. There is perfect balance and harmony. God is a god of order, and so it is that man receives what he earns—no more and no less—in keeping with the perfect balance of this Law of Compensation. If at the moment what is received appears to be more or less than what is earned, this is a misunderstanding. Somehow, somewhere, adjustment will take place. The same law is applicable to rich and poor, young and old, saint and sinner.

It is characteristic for the unawakened person to feel sorry for himself, believing that he is not receiving all he is due, or feeling that money and position and favor have been unjustly snatched from him. This is a delusion without basis in truth. In all ways we receive exactly what we earn. We reap what we have sown in consciousness. This suggests the doctrine of Karma, which is related to the idea of “comeback”. It implies the return of the pendulum, the inexorable law of giving and receiving. The problem with the strict application of this rule is that it would have destroyed mankind long ago; the wrinkle is that when man changes his giving habits he can change what he receives.

In her book, Prosperity’s Ten Commandments, Georgianna Tree West gives an interesting illustration of how, when we think we are getting something for nothing, we are self-deceived. A woman who loved to keep on the go and travel about boasted that she never had to engage a hotel room as long as she was passing through a city in which one of her many relatives lived. Her philosophy was, “What good are relatives if you can’t use them?” So, she descended on them, bag and baggage, at will. She lived in a tiny, one-room apartment, and could never repay the favor, but still expected a warm welcome. However, after bragging about all the money she saved she always complained of how people took advantage of her wherever she went. She was both astonished and indignant when told it was because she was violating God’s Law of Compensation. It was a new and not very welcome realization that there was a connection between the way she imposed on others and the way the rest of the world treated her.

It is in thinking that we find the key to the Law of Compensation. It is not so much what we do in the outer as what we think that counts. We should consider our work a giving, and should see ourselves as channels of expression of God capacity. We should concern ourselves with the quality of our giving without thinking of the “comeback”. Man’s true business in life is the “express business”, the business of expressing God as our innate potentiality. We need to give ourselves away.

When an executive studies a list of names of possible candidates for an important promotion or responsibility, he is looking for the person who has shown the greatest spirit of service, who is manifestly more interested in working than in getting paid, who has not shunned responsibility, and who has been thinking of giving rather than focusing on receiving. An obscure Christian teaching might be mentioned: “Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth.” While giving, do not calculate how much you should receive in return. While working, do not dwell on compensation. Dollar signs in your eyes short circuit the law of giving and defeat your purpose. This is especially helpful advice for salesmen: always think “give” instead of “get”.

The Law of Compensation works in many subtle ways. All of us find ourselves at one time or another in the midst of that which is binding and limiting; we are criticized, misjudged, and unappreciated. When things get tight, something’s got to give, and that “something” is you! The unconscious criticism in which so many of us spend our time springs from a feeling of insufficiency; finding weakness in others is really an attempt to justify our own weakness. But, by the Law of Compensation, when we are constantly deprecating others they will deprecate us too.

It has been said that the only way to get even with another person is to change what you are thinking about him. Something’s got to give! If you need a blessing, give a blessing.

Developing the art of appreciation means simply getting an attitude of looking for the good and giving expression to constructive, beneficial thoughts and feelings in every situation. Never fail to say something good. Things happen in a miraculous way when you express appreciation. Things no longer upset you; others will appreciate you instead of being indifferent; you will find warm smiles directed your way. The condition will accelerate; as you learn to appreciate others you will increasingly find yourself surrounded by those who will in turn appreciate you. The principle is as fixed as the law of gravity.

The person is poor indeed who has nothing to give. When you understand the law, you will realize that your whole life is centered around the spirit of giving love, appreciation, praise, time, support, efforts and substance. The comeback will always follow.

To develop your consciousness of giving, one important technique is to start giving in a tangible way. Be generous but selective. Give your money, your time, your experience to those organizations or individuals that are constructive and appreciative. Above all, give because it is important to you. One man, when asked how he could give so much, replied, “Oh, I shovel it out and He shovels it in; but He has a much bigger shovel than I do.”

A common handicap in this area is the limited understanding of the ethic of giving and getting one’s “share”. At best this is merely a return to the stream of life what we have taken out so that the balance remains the same. But this is not enough. Emerson says, “Every man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him but a day comes when he begins to care that he does not cheat his neighbor, then all goes well. He has changed his market cart to a chariot of the sun.” What we need is to change the balance—to put a little more in than we take out, and thereby to raise the level of the stream of life. In this way everybody, including ourselves, will have a greater quantity to draw from.

Someone suggested: “Challenge God to a race in giving.” Don’t just be fair, be more than fair. Don’t just do your share of work, go the extra mile. It is not enough to give love and friendship, give it back with an extra measure. Likewise with justice, kindness, cooperation, and devotion—give back dividends.

In any situation, find some way to give. Give your way into a new consciousness of affluence. This is one of the most important starting points in the study of Truth, and one of Truth’s most fundamental laws.


© 1975, by Eric Butterworth

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