Giving and Receiving
TruthUnity Editor's notes:
- This tract would be studied with Lesson Three of the Unity Correspondence School Lesson (Preparatory).]
- Most of this content was incorporated into chapter 10 of Charles Fillmore's Prosperity, Right Living, the Key to Abundant Living.
- To improve readability, some paragraphs in the original tract have been separated and some of the text has been italicized.
Unity School of Christianity
913-925 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. — Luke 6:38.
He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.— II Cor. 9:6-8.
THE doctrine of Jesus Christ stands out prominently for its practical application in all the affairs of life. It is not alone a religion, in the limited aspect in which that word is used, but a rule of living, doing, thinking, being. Men have not sounded the depths of this most simple guide to success in matters practical as well as ethical. They have separated the religious from the ethical, and the ethical from the common things of bread-winning. These have been classified, and each put in different compartments in the mind, and consequently acted out in the living as separated one from the other. This has led to Sunday religion and week-day license. It has not seemed practical to take the doctrine of Jesus Christ into our counting-houses and market-places, and apply in dollars and cents and pounds and measures the rule, "Give, and it shall be given unto you."
Business men, and even ministers, tell us that this doctrine is not applicable to our civilization; that we have established customs, commercial, governmental and social, that will not admit of such altruistic methods as those advocated and practiced by Jesus and his apostles. If this be true, either drop the customs or cease claiming to be followers of Jesus.
But it is not true that men cannot apply the doctrine of Jesus to every department of life. It would be a shallow doctrine that could not float the affairs of our civilization successfully, and we know that Jesus Christ put forth no such puny stream.
Why, then, are we not more successful in making this doctrine a practical standard and guide in our daily affairs? Simply because we have not understood the law upon which it is based. We have not gone into it deep enough. We have thought that we understood, when we had but a faint inkling. "Do you look on things of the outward appearance?" asked Paul (II Cor. 10:7), and Jesus warned us to "judge not according to the appearance" (John 7:24). That is, do not arrive at a conclusion until you have gone deep into the causes and underlying laws. The things we see outwardly are the effects that have arisen from causes not visible to the senses.
There is an inner and an outer to everything — both mental and material conditions pervade the whole universe. Man slides up and down the gamut from cause to effect at will. The whole race may slide into effect almost unconsciously, and men so identify the senses with it as to lose sight of cause for thousands upon thousands of years. Then comes an awakening, and the introduction into their consciousness of the cause side of existence; for example, as set forth in the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
But men do not all at once grasp the great truth that there is a spiritual and a material identity to everything; they cling to that which has been most visible to them. In this instance it is the material side of existence, and they are loth to let go; thinking it the all. They have even taken the letter, or appearance side, of Jesus Christ's doctrine, and materialized it to fit their sensual customs. That is why it has not purified commerce, government and society. But it must be made spiritually operative in those departments, and it will easily do the work desired when its mental side is studied and understood nd applied from the spiritual viewpoint.
In no other department of our daily life is there greater need of reform than in finances. Money has been manipulated by greed until greed itself is sick, and secretly asks for a panacea. But it does not look to the religion of Jesus Christ for this panacea. In fact, that is the very last place it would seek for aid, because the popular advocates of that doctrine have become financial dependents themselves, and have no remedy to offer — not understanding the power of their own religion. But a permanent remedy will never be found outside the practical application of the mental laws upon which the doctrine of Jesus Christ rests.
All true reform begins with the individual. It is the right relation of the units in a problem that insures its accuracy. This is where Jesus began his reform. He did not clamor for legislation to control men and guide their actions. "He called his disciples unto him" (Luke 6:13) and it was through them individually that he instituted that reform which has as its basis an appeal to the intelligence and inherent goodness and innate honesty in every one. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mark 16:15).
Since men have begun to learn definitely about the dynamic effect of thought, and how ideas set up vibrations in the universal ether, they are seeing more and more the wisdom of Jesus Christ's reform. They are beginning to understand that there is one undeviating law of mind action, and that all thinking and all speaking is amenable to it. Thus when Jesus said, "By thy words shalt thou be justified, and by thy words shalt thou be condemned," (Matt. 12:37) he apprehended the power of thoughts and words to bring results in accordance with the ideas back of them.
Everything that appears in the whole universe had its origin in mind. Mind evolves ideas, and ideas express themselves through thoughts and words. Understanding the permanent place in existence of ideas, and their power to perpetually evolve thoughts and words, we see how futile any reform is that does not take them into consideration. This is why legislation and external rules of action are so transient and weak as real reformers. Ideas generate thought-currents as a fire under a boiler generates steam. The idea is a most important factor in every act, and must be given first place in every true and lasting reform movement. Men formulate thoughts — thoughts that move the world, so to the ideas of men must we direct our attention, if we would bring about results of permanent character.
Ideas are centers of consciousness, have the positive and negative pole, and generate thought forms of every conceivable kind. Hence a man's body, his intelligence, his health, his finances, in fact, everything about him, are derived from the ideas he holds in mind. Then the permanent reformers of the world are those who deal with the ideas of the people, leaving these ideas to work themselves out under the law.
As metaphysicians and followers in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we have found that certain ideas in the minds of the people are causing widespread misery, disease and death. We have also found that those ideas can be dissolved or transformed, and the whole man made over through his conscious volition. Paul understood this process, and said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2).
One of the most destructive ideas that men exercise is that form of selfishness denominated avarice, covetousness, money-getting, the desire to possess those things of the world which will bring financial gain. This idea threatens to seriously disturb the civilization of the whole race. Men and women are letting the idea of money-getting generate its cold currents in their souls until it shuts out the sunlight of love, and even life. It grips their arms and legs, and they shrivel up with paralysis. It sends its tremulous currents of fear of loss or lack to the stomach, and they starve with plenty at hand. With its hot desire to possess, it fills the body with fever, and when failure and loss come uppermost, the reaction causes a wild whirl of insanity to surge through the brain.
The remedy for this, as well as all the ills that flesh is heir to, lies in conformity to Divine Law as revealed by Jesus Christ, and carried out by his true followers. They "were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common." (See Acts 4:32.) Many true Christians have observed this righteous law, and sought to conform to it in community life where "all things were had in common." But this has not always been successful, because there was not sufficient recognition of the mental realm and the discipline of ideas. So long as the idea of covetousness inheres in the human mind as a dominant, generating factor, there can be no success in community life. There must be an elimination of that adversary on the mental plane first, then the next step is safe.
So, as metaphysicians, we are all over the country preparing ourselves for the Great Colony, which Jesus Christ is to set up here, by eliminating this selfish idea from our minds, along with many others whose discordant vibrations produce inharmony in our members. As a step in this direction, we are gradually introducing the "freewill offering" plan for service, instead of the world's commercial standard. We are striving to educate the people on this question of giving and receiving, and show them that there is a Divine Law of equilibrium in matters financial, corresponding to the balance, poise and equilibrium that holds the suns and planets in space.
In order to do this successfully we must have the loving co-operation of every one to whom we minister. This Law that will adjust with harmony and equity all the affairs of men is based upon Love and Justice. These are mighty powers in the spiritual world and all things must finally fall under their sway, because even a few men and women of right motive can, through pure thinking and just acting, introduce them into the race-consciousness, and thus pave the way for their universal adoption. This movement has already begun, and every reader of this is asked to give it impetus by resolving to be just without compulsion.
Thought-currents constitute the race consciousness, and form the dominant beliefs of all the people, except those who have risen above them, and become independent thinkers. So this reform must be carried out by individuals who resolve to think and act in the Jesus Christ way.
Then to begin:
- Dedicate yourself in Spirit to the ministry of Jesus Christ and resolve to carry forward his good work. Deny daily in the silence of your "inner closet" the beliefs in avarice and covetousness, and affirm positively the universal sway of Divine Love and Justice.
- Make the idea of exact justice and equity between man and man the one theme in all you think and do. Never for a moment allow yourself to scheme to get the better of your fellows in a trade or bargain. Hold steadily that the law of exact Justice is working in and through you, and that you are supplied with everything necessary to fulfill all of its requirements. Give value received for everything you get. Demand the same for everything that you give but do not try to enforce it in external ways. Hold yourself as Spirit working with spiritual forces, which are powerful beyond all estimate.
- Do not plan to lay up for the future — let the future take care of itself (Matt. 6:34). Hold steadily in thought the omnipresence of Universal Supply, its perfect equilibrium and swift action infilling every place of apparent lack. If you have been in the habit of hoarding and studying economy, change your thought currents to generosity.
- Practice giving, even though it be in a small way. Give in love — give when you cannot see any possibility of return. Give your real substance, the substance of the heart, with every possible token, whether it be money or what not. That is, through the power of your Word bless and spiritually multiply everything that you give.
- See yourself as the steward of God handing out his inexhaustible supplies. In this manner you set in motion mental forces that eventually bring large results into visibility. Jesus called his disciples' attention to this when he commented on the widow's two mites — the all of her living (Mark 12:42). It was large in her eyes, and a sacrifice, hence Jesus said she gave more than all the others. So it has proven, for all down the centuries has come the example of the "widow's mite," and it has been an incentive that has gathered untold wealth to the furtherance of good.
It is the "cheerful giver" that God loves, because the mind is open, and there is free flow of that pure substance of Being which balances all things.
Never give with the idea that you are bestowing charity. The idea of charity has infested the race-consciousness and made a whole army of dependents. Do all in your power to annul this error. There is no such thing as charity, as popularly understood. Everything belongs to God and all his children are equally entitled to it. Because one has a surplus and gives to another who has lack, does not make one a benefactor and the other a dependent. He who has the abundance is but the steward of God equalizing his surplus. Ask for Divine Wisdom in giving, and it will become a joy to both yourself and the recipient.
As teachers and healers in the Jesus Christ way we are, like him, receiving only free-will offerings for our ministry to the people.
The majority of those who ask our help recognize the law of giving and receiving and respond with their tithes in just, generous measure; but quite a number may be classed as uneducated. First, those who are in bondage to the idea of avarice, and second, those who are in bondage to the idea of charity. These both are mentally diseased and need education and treatment for these mental limitations. The avaricious are the greatest in bodily suffering and the most difficult to heal because of their mental bias, which is to get everything just as cheaply as possible, the kingdom of heaven included. These have to be educated to be just because it is right. They have to learn to "let go" of acquisitiveness, and affirm generosity. This they will do readily in the mental drill, but when it comes to letting go of the money symbol they are not so alert. But silent treatments, supplemented with oral or written instruction, will always prevail. A man who came under our ministry was financially so grasping that the cords of his right arm had become drawn until his hand was at times spasmodically closed beyond his will to open. Another from the same cause had his right arm paralyzed. These are examples of the power of the covetous idea over the body. The salvation of such is to learn to give through love — freely and without compulsion.
Some metaphysicians seek to cure their patients of avarice by charging them a good round price for treatments. By the same rule the doctor, the grocer and the clothier have been administering similar remedies, and we are all being healed every time we have to pay exorbitantly for any service! This cure has become so popular that thousands have gone into metaphysical healing as a business, and a great industry is being built up with the commercial idea just as cold and calculating, just as hard and unyielding as it is in the ranks of the money-changers of mammon.
But we seek a "more excellent way," (I Cor. 12:31) a way more in harmony with Divine Law, which is that the heart and not the head shall rule in giving and receiving.
We who are inaugurating this method are meeting with some criticism and opposition from those who hold that the strictly commercial method of charging a definite price is the only legitimate way. They accuse us of fostering poverty and charity, and of keeping alive in their iniquity that large class of people who are striving to get something for nothing.
Our reply to these criticisms is that we are pursuing the only course that will effectually eradicate these erroneous states of consciousness in the people and bring them into understanding of the spiritual law of giving and receiving through love.
Some of those to whom we minister get the idea that we wish to help them and require nothing from them in return. This is far from the truth. We do not advocate anything of the kind. Our position is that everyone should give as he receives — in fact, that it is only through giving that he can receive. Until the heart is opened up and the spirit quickened at the center there is no permanent healing. We do not believe in charity nor practice it. We believe that everyone can render value received for everything he gets. We aim to show financial paupers that they can give something in return for the good that has been done them. It may be to pass the True Word to some other needy soul, or to merely lift up their voices in thanksgiving and praising, where before they were dumb. We recognize the necessity of some action of the mammon-bound mentality. It must be made to "let go" somewhere before it can receive the light and power of the Spirit. Mammon has in his clutches both the financially rich and poor, and both need the same sort of educating. One is bound by the idea of excess of money and the other by the idea of the lack of money. These ideas are both mental, and they quarrel continually in the race mind. The Divine Man must have dominion over these ideas, and this he acquires by eliminating from his mentality both of them.
A great many metaphysicians in this day are eliminating the idea of poverty and putting in its place the idea of riches, assuming that riches are of divine order. It is true that those who seek God diligently and conform to his law shall have every need supplied, but the admonition of the Master is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, then "all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
Herein we see the wisdom of Jesus. He saw that bondage to one kind of an idea was just as bad as to another kind. That to acquire abundance of things through the manipulation of thought-currents, and still be slave to the desire for those things, was even worse (han poverty. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" (Mark 10:23)
The spiritual man masters both the ideas of riches and poverty. And he shall never be master of the idea of riches until he can say to it, "I can be happy and contented without the things which you bring to men in this world." Nor can he master the idea of poverty until he is able to say to it, "You have no terrors for me."
So our ministry is to bring men and women to this place of true and lasting dominion, where they shall be superior to both riches and poverty. This we shall do by showing them that they are spiritual beings; that they live in a spiritual world here and now, and that through an apprehension of their true being, and its relation to God, this dominion is to be brought about.
One of the vital central facts in this relation between God and man is the idea and its power of building thought structures. Every man is a king ruling his subjects — those subjects are the ideas existing in his mind. These ideas are as varied and have as many phases of character as the inhabitants of an empire. But they can all be brought into subjection through the I Am power of the ruler of that kingdom.
In your domain may be colonies of alien ideas, like the Philistines, Canaanites and other foreign tribes, which the children of Israel found in the Promised Land when they sought to take possession of it. The story of the children of Israel gaining possession of that land is a symbolical representation of the experience of everyone who seeks to reclaim his own consciousness in the name of the Lord. We find that the Hebrew meaning of Canaanite is "merchant or trader;" in other words, that set of ideas in the mind of every one which has to do with commercial traffic. Study the experiences of the children of Israel (spiritual ideas) with the Canaanites, and you will get valuable hints how to handle and subdue your own money-getting proclivities.
You may be avaricious and stingy to a degree that the very blood in your body is being dried up, and your nerves shaking and palsied with the fear of future poverty. If so, a new set of ideas must be made active in your domain. Commence at once to "let go" of your all-consuming ideas of gain. Think about generosity and begin to be generous. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). You can prove the truth of this, and be blessed with a new influx of life and health by giving.
On the other hand, you may be poor; you may have cultivated the idea of small things financially. You believe that you cannot give because your income is so limited. Your remedy is to cultivate ideas of abundant supply. Claim God as your inexhaustible resource, and that all things are yours. But in order to set in motion the dammed-up current of your thoughts you must also begin to give. You may have to give pennies to begin with, but give them in the name of your opulent God. Say with your heart's love as you send them forth,
"The love of God through me multiplies you."
Man's consciousness is like a stream flowing through a land. If he dams up the mouth it settles back into the low places and becomes stagnant. The quick way to purify it is to not only let in the flood from above, but also to open the dam below. Many people try to demonstrate God as their supply by repeated affirmations of the now present abundance, forgetting at the same time to deny or "let go" of the idea of lack by beginning to give. It is not the amount that you give as measured by the standards of the world that counts, but the good will that you send forth with your gift, for "God loveth a cheerful giver."
Unity School of Christianity
Kansas City, Missouri
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