Midweek Faith Lift
August 14, 2019
There is More Than Enough
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
“You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 The whole message of Jesus is to know the Truth and the result of that knowing is freedom. That is quite a claim, yet that is what the Gospel of John claims as true. So what is the Truth and what kind of Freedom are we talking about here? That is the basic exploration of Butterworth’s whole book, Discover the Power Within You. What have we been learning this summer from Eric Butterworth?
We have learned that we are in essence good, that we are Divinely human beings and that we are “Christed” beings with the energy of Spirit as our Source of life. We are learning about our true Christ nature and that we have the ability and the capacity to look within, understand both our human and divine expressions and make conscious choices about how we show up. The Beatitudes gave us a pattern and a series of affirmations to claim our Divine nature and live from that place of Divinity.
Our thoughts and feelings are a key to understanding how this works but our knowledge of Truth is a dynamic energy. When we resist our true nature, we stay stuck in our human response patterns—not at all fun! But we stay there as long as we stay there, stuck in our resistance until we wake up to something more, something much better—a realization of the Truth of who we really are and that we can show up differently!
Last week our exploration was all about prayer and how prayer works in us and through us to keep us connected to that Divine nature that is the Truth of who we are. Prayer is our setting our intention to maintain our conscious contact with God, our higher Self, praying only for knowledge, of the highest perspective and the power to act on that awareness when we need to do so. Now with deeper understanding of our True nature, a powerful means of connecting with and staying connected with that nature in prayer, we turn again to how it is that we show up and interact in our humanness in the material world we call our life.
So now what are we to learn? Well, our next step in this spiritual/metaphysical journey of knowing the Truth is to consider how we relate to that which is all around us in the material world of our lives. And Jesus has some very specific instructions about this; he couldn’t be more clear.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NRSV)
Many of us have heard this passage before and the general response has been, “Yeah, right!” In Jesus’ time, people did store their treasures in the walls of their homes and their valuables were in the form of silks, woolens and metal objects, which could literally rust or be moth eaten. What the essential message from Jesus is telling us is that what is truly worth storing is in our consciousness, and that is what is worth saving. Where our treasure is, our consciousness, that is where our heart, our love will also be. That is what will be most important to us, most essential.
Whoa, so does that mean I ditch my 401K, that I give away all my money so that I can be truly spiritual or realize my true nature? Does this mean money is a bad thing and that I should not save money or store it in the bank? No, that is not what Jesus or Butterworth is saying here. Jesus had money and Judas was appointed treasurer for the group of his disciples who were his closest followers. There was also a group of women who supported the mission of Jesus who “ministered to him of their substance,” and Jesus did not turn this away. While it has been frequently misquoted from the Bible that “money is the root of all evil,” the actual quote is from 1Tim. 6:10 “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
If we remember that in Aramaic, the word evil means unripe or immature, then yes, it is immature to be in a consciousness of loving money, wealth, power and all that it brings. In reality, it takes a great deal of spiritual maturity, emotional maturity and wisdom to relate to money and wealth in a healthy, consciously creative way. What Jesus has said to us in this passage is that where we invest our time and energy says what it is that we love the most. As Butterworth says, when Jesus says we should lay up treasures in heaven he is saying
…that we should become more conscious of what we have going for us in the depth of us, the divine of us….this is “building a prosperity consciousness”-the realization that God is the Source of our supply, that all comes from an inner resorce and that our greatest need is not so much to build up great reserves of wealth….as to build up great faith that there will always be a flow of substance-through us as ideas, and into our experience as money—to meet every legitimate need. p. 123 Discover the Power Within You.
God is my instant, constant and abundant Source of supply! It is my faith that I
strengthen to walk the path of that Truth. During the Great Depression, the story is told that workers at Silent Unity said to Myrtle Fillmore, “We better pray that the money holds out.” Her response; “We must pray that the Faith holds out!”
Butterworth shares the story of Antoinette Bourignon, a spiritual figure of the 17th century who had a great vision of her spiritual union with God. Her parents were going to force her into an unwanted marriage to stop her. She decided to leave home, traveling on faith alone. She took with her one penny for bread that day. As she left home that day, she heard a stirring within her that asked, “Where is your faith, in a penny?” And without hesitation, she discarded the penny and affirmed her faith in God. The penny was a small financial safeguard, but a spiritual obstacle. Antoinette had to prove to herself that she could go all the way and travel her path on faith alone.
In reality, friends, we all have to do that at some point. We have to let go of what we attach as our security blanket and travel on faith alone. If this building were to go away, would that mean the end of Unity Church of Ames? Aren’t we more than this building? It is so interesting to note that when Unity of Joplin lost their entire building to a tornado in 2012, their mantra became we are more than just a building, we are a spiritual community! They started by saying “we were never just a building” and then grew into a faith community that understood this Truth at depth. Of course they now have a new church building, but they understand in a whole new and deeper way that they are much more than that! And, my friends, so are we!
And that is what the second part of the message of Jesus is about; you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free. That freedom is a true release from attachment to our ideas and beliefs about “how things should be!”
Unity of Joplin learned who they really are and were freed from identifying with their building as defining them. We all have attachments to our “stuff” and we do use it to define who we are. The reality that is much greater is inevitably we will die, and all the “stuff” we used to define who we are or were becomes irrelevant. It becomes what the lawyers and courts call “the residue of your estate!” How ironic that all we strain to acquire is eventually described as residue….kind on like the soap film on drinking glasses that we don’t quite rinse properly! Residue! Hmmph!!
When I was in seminary, we had to identify a scripture that served as our credo. Mine was and still is Matthew 6:33
33 But strive first for the kingdom of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NRSV)
This comes right after all the statements about how the lilies of the field do not toil or spin or worry about what they will eat or wear. This is yet another reminder that when we seek a conscious connection with Spirit and the right use of that consciousness and then all else will be added unto us. How that unfolded for me was to stay connected to Spirit; to maintain my conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for me and the power to carry that out. That is the 11th step of the 12-step programs, and it is not an easy one. It requires that we travel our path of life with a great deal of faith, cultivating our connection to a Higher Power than we are, trusting that all we need will be provided when we need it.
That was a learning experience for me! I used to make a demand on God that things be provided well in advance of when I thought I would need them. That is not how this faith walk works! It is about everything being “sufficient unto today” and being grateful for that. When I began to work with that idea, I could relax and trust that all that I needed would be there when I needed it. And it was!
The house I have lived in for the past 29 years was available as a rental when I had to move out of my fancy big house because of divorce and bankruptcy. I retired to go to seminary in 2010 in the midst of the Great Recession and then Todd was laid off. So, I applied and received ½ tuition scholarships so I could continue in seminary. And he got extended unemployment so he had some
income to pursue the change to his Helms Briscoe career. And I cannot begin to describe all the good and wonderful things that we have done as a result of that switch.
That is the path that I walk, the path of faith that all will be provided when I need it, not before, but when I need it, and it always has. God is my instant, constant and abundant supply!
Blessings on the Path,