Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #60
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 28, 1975
Civil engineers use a term that is perfectly applicable to man in his journeys through life: “The True Point of Beginning”. In surveying a piece of land, there is always a starting point which is clearly marked and identified. After establishing this point, the legal description may be described as follows: “North 19 degrees, 21 minutes, 11 seconds; thence East...; thence South...; thence West...to the true point of beginning.”
For man, the True Point of Beginning (TPB) is the realization of the Truth of our oneness with God. A TPB could well be the Hebrew saying, “Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord God is one.” Only with the consciousness of TPB can man harness his resources and live up to his potential.
The search for God is fundamental in our preparation for life. The problem for most is how to understand God...how to find Him. Well, God is not to be found, for God is not lost. The search for God must be the search for our own mind and heart and for the faith to accept and believe. In seeking to understand God, we must be wary of finding Him through a definition, for surely God is not to be defined.
Jesus said, “God is Spirit: and they that worship must worship in Spirit and Truth.” This is not a definition, but is simply a guide to direct our thoughts away from finite form (thinking of God as some sort of absentee landlord of the Universe). Spirit implies unspecialized, unformed, unrestricted, limitless.
In his sermon on Mars Hill, Paul gives a startling description of the relationship between man and God: “...The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth does not live in shrines made by men, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything...Yet he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being.”
In a sense, man can only understand God by understanding himself. He can only find God by finding the depth of his own God-potential and giving expression to it. Man is a “man-ifestation” of God. This is the key to your life, the hope of your success. You are God’s living enterprise. There is that in you which is God expressing as you, and that has nothing whatever to do but to work for your highest good. This is the Holy Spirit (the whole spirit of God).
There is no possibility of man being separated from God any more than your radio can be separated from the idea out of which it was born or from the substance from which it was made. Man’s dilemma is that he forgets who he is—he’s an angel with amnesia—a son of God acting as if he were a child of misfortune. He lives in a consciousness of insufficiency only because of his own limited thought.
We are, actually, projections of God into visibility. Our relationship to God is like that of the ocean to the wave. The wave has individuality, form and shape, and yet there is a sense in which it is never more or less than the ocean expressing itself as a wave.
God is not to be prayed to or worshipped in the sense of pleading for this and that, and He is not to be flattered. God is not to be used. If man is an expression of God, then man’s role is to express, to “let thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Forgetting that this is our true relationship with God, we run here and there, trying to find answers that are already within. We go through a trial and error process of seeking guidance that is within.
Going back to the True Point of Beginning is the answer to every question of life. What should you do? Should you marry this or that person? Should you get a divorce? What should you do about your job? Should you buy or sell your stock? What should you do with your life? TPB. Get still and know.
If I am having faith in God as my supply, should I go to a bank and get a loan? If I am believing in God’s healing power, should I see the doctor to get an operation? TPB Go first to God...go next to man as and if God directs.
Some years ago, I remember reading a comment by the outstanding architect, Saarinen. He said that an architect should consider everything in the light of the next larger context. That is, the room must be considered in relationship to the house; the house in relationship to the community; the community in relationship to the city; and the city in relationship to the nation, etc.
In a sense, our problem is that we too often try to understand ourselves or the experiences of life out of context. How many times, in the face of some crisis, we blurt out, “Isn’t that just awful?” Then later we discover that it was the best thing that ever happened to us.
A mistake may seem at first to be a tragedy, yet may take on a different significance later. Columbus made a mistake when He discovered America. It could have been a tragedy to him; after all, he set out to find the short way to India, but in light of the contextural structure of world history it was one of the greatest discoveries ever.
Taken out of context, man is a miserable sinner. He is a victim of circumstances. He has incurable illnesses. He is untalented with no possibilities of success. But, in the next larger context, there is the inner power of the Christ within.
This leads us to know that there is always an answer. This is true even though we may seem to be at the end of our rope, thinking that nothing can save our job, heal our condition, or settle our dispute.
A man once paused during a stroll down the aisle of a passenger train, having noticed two young men playing chess. One of the contestants, a teenager, was about to concede defeat when the man in the aisle remarked that there was “One more move.”
The youth invited the man to take his place at the chess board. After resuming play, the man made one deft move that changed the complexion of the whole game. Soon he had won, even though just minutes before the young player was ready to concede. The stranger remarked that in chess there may not always be one more move, but that in life, when our best efforts seem to have failed to solve problems, there is always one more move...to return to the True Point of Beginning.
Some years later the teenager had become an infantryman on the field of battle. He was cut off from his unit and alone in a foxhole under heavy fire. Enemy patrols were closing in on him, and all seemed lost. Suddenly he remembered the chess game and the man’s remark that there was always one more move. Let God take over, he thought, and he got still for a moment. Then, suddenly, he felt an inspiration to shout out to his adversaries, demanding that they surrender. He did so with an authority of voice that surprised him. Every one of them laid down their arms and became his prisoner. His one more move saved several lives, including his own.
Get it fixed in your mind that you are God’s child. You are His living enterprise. He is always with you, always loves you, is always your potential strength and wisdom. He is always your one more move.
Turn back to the True Point of Beginning. See yourself in context. Within you is the “Whole Spirit” of God. With it, you are never alone.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth