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Sunday Message for August 23, 2020


Father/Mother/God, As we earnestly, confidently, expectantly seek to become righteous people whose prayers brings us so much in its workings, we know we will develop soul qualities that we have never before known - fearlessness, patience, compassion, self-control, discrimination, tolerance, and understanding. As we keep the high watch, as we associate with the risen Christ, as we abide in the secret place of the Most High, Isaiah's prophesy shall be fulfilled for us: "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning [wisdom], and thy healing shall spring forth speedily [health], and thy righteousness shall go before thee [success]; the glory of Jehovah shall be thy rearward [protection]."a

May the Christ within me, reveal to me the Father, as Jesus knew Him, that my faith may be strong, my vision high, my expectancy sure. Let all my desires and all my prayers conform to the will of the Highest, that my life may express only His glory, His beauty, and His love.


So, we start today with a modern parable:

There was once a farmer who, each year, entered his corn in the state fair and, each year, his corn won a blue ribbon. One year, a newspaper reporter interviewed him and asked him about his secret to success. And the reporter was quite surprised at what the farmer said. He said that for years he had been sharing his prize-winning seed corn with his neighbors.

"Why in the world would you share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering the same corn competition as you are each year? Don't you want to win?!" the reporter asked.

"Of course I want to win, but what I really want to do is grow the best possible corn." said the farmer, "And to grow the best possible corn, I can't afford not to share. You see the wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. So, if my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, then I must help my neighbors grow good corn also."

Today we continue our series on Wisdom -- specifically looking at the Wisdom of Succeeding.

Now note, I said, the Wisdom of Succeeding -- I did not say today we are going to look at "The 10 Steps to Success" --

Nor the "The Top 5 Winning Attitudes" --

Nor the "The 7 Ways to Turn Failure Into Success" --

No, I said we are going to look at the Wisdom of Succeeding. And we cannot look at the Wisdom of Succeeding without looking FIRST at the wisdom that was contained in the parable of the prize-winning corn that I just shared.

The WISDOM that is embedded in that parable is this:

In order for anyone to succeed, he/she must help others to succeed.

Two reasons this is true. Both are grounded in fundamental Unity Principle. The first:

There is one Life and that Life is God and that Life is my life now.

Basic building block for our belief system - foundational core concept.

It's not just my life, it's everyone's life!

And that means that we are deeply connected -- in fact at our very core, at the very center of our beings, we are one.

Therefore, if I want to succeed, I sure better help you succeed as well!

Second, this is consistent with the way the Universe operates -- the Universal Law operates in a reciprocal manner. What goes into it comes back to us.

In the book, Prosperity, Charles Fillmore wrote:

"There is a law of giving and receiving ... it is a law of mind action, and it can be learned and applied the same as any other law . . . The law of giving and receiving that Jesus taught, 'Give, and it shall be given unto you,'b is found to be applicable to all our commercial as well as our social relationships."c

I believe that it is God's plan, God's Divine Will, that every single one of us becomes great. I believe it is God's intention that we all experience the beauty and wonder of the world. I believe that it is natural to succeed!

In How I Used Truth, H. Emilie Cady writes:

"We need to remember that we are spiritual beings with an inheritance of all-good. We need to turn often in prayer to God for revelation of His will. The results will be health of mind and body, harmony, success, and abundance in our affairs."d

As we learn in Unity, Spirit, God, is expressing in us, through us, as us. When we progress, when we advance, when we succeed, Spirit becomes a greater and greater expression of itself, so IT IS RIGHT that we should be successful. It is natural that we should succeed.

Ought to ask the question -- What is success? People define it differently.

Some define it as making lots and lots of money.

Not sure that that alone does it - you know what often happens to lottery winners.

Other people define success as achieving great power and influence over others.

Not sure that that truly encompasses success either - there have been many a powerful and influential person who died broken individuals.

Others would describe it as acquiring lots of status symbols such as cars, clothing, homes, etc.

All we need to do is look at the statistics of teenagers today who are involved in drugs and all sorts of destructive behaviors and see how many of them come from homes with three-car garages and all the material things they could ever want, to know that that can't be all there is to success.

None of these things are intrinsically bad or wrong -- in fact, as I've often said, we live in a universe of form and material experience and those items which give it comfort are fine.

In fact, a prominent New Thought leader was once getting out of a limo to come to church one morning and someone waiting in line to get in to the Wilshire Theater criticized him for riding around in a limo, calling him a hypocrite. He said, "Sir, I would be a hypocrite if I didn't drive around in a nice car!"

Why did he say that? . . . Because we know there is so much more to success than that!

I happen to really resonate with how Ralph Waldo Emerson, a pioneer in the New Thought movement, defined success. He wrote:

"To have laughed often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."e

What motivates us -- fear or love? Fear-based motivation moves us into trying to grab as much stuff as possible and call that success. It causes us to want to compete for limited resources and hoard what we have. We saw a lot of this when the pandemic hit and people were hoarding toilet paper.

Love-based motivation moves us to a definition of success closer to Emerson's.

We are having the opportunity to witness fear-based motivations right now with the economy, Covid 19, demonstrations, etc.

If we were to apply this love-based definition of success to modern business, someone might say that some significant ingredients are missing -- such as gross profit, productivity, bottom line, etc.

Interestingly, a very, very successful businessman of the 19th Century Lord Leverhulme -- founder of Lever Brothers (to name just one of his successful businesses) once said,

"It is frequently stated that modern business cannot be conducted on the line of the Sermon on the Mount. I can only say that a business conducted on any other basis will never be permanently successful."f

In the New Thought movement, we have a reputation for being pretty self-centered. For looking after numero uno and that is all. We have even been called the religion of "princes, palaces and parking places" -- in other words only looking to use the Awesome power of the Law to manifest the stuff that will make life better for me, me, me!!

In fact, I heard a story once that a priest, a Baptist preacher and a New Thought minister were discussing their Sunday offerings and how their money was spent.

The priest said, "We give four-fifths to Catholic charities and the last fifth we keep for ourselves and for the vicarage."

The Baptist preacher said, "We give 10% to the church headquarters, we spend 65% on missionary work and we keep the remaining 25% for our work here."

They both looked at the New Thought Minister and said, "So, what do you do?" He said: "Each week, I gather three of my Board members together after service and we each take a corner of a tablecloth. We put all the money into the middle of the cloth. We then toss the money very high into the air up to God. Whatever God wants, God takes, and whatever falls back to earth, we keep!"

At one time that may have been true; but I think that is radically changing as we evolve in our understanding of the Wisdom of Success - which is love-based. So proud of our community outreach activities! Actively serving others by spreading our light!

Awhile back, a young man called our church, looking for a place to do a project to earn his Eagle Scout badge. When I returned his call, he said that he had called several churches and that we were the only ones to return his call.

He earned his badge and we now have two pergolas out front that his troop built. Their success was in serving others. Our success was in letting their light shine.

Dr. Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind:

"You must be sure that the thing you want to do does not rebound to your success only. Your desire must not be selfish; it must benefit humanity. The path of a complete circuit must be formed. In other words, your idea must go forth with the purpose of blessing or serving the world. It will then come back to you pressed down, shaken together, and running over. If it is to benefit yourself exclusively, the circle or complete circuit is not formed, and you may experience a short circuit in your life which may consist of limitation or sickness."g

The Wisdom of Succeeding says that the highest level of success is achieved when we do that which is consistent with our Divine Nature -- and it is our Divine Nature to Love and to be a giver to Life. Because that's God's nature!

In the Revealing Word Charles Fillmore writes:

""Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights."h God's greatest gift to man is the power of thought, through which he can incorporate into his consciousness the Mind of God."i

How are using your gifts? Are you using them to bring laughter and joy to yourself and others? To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better and to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived?

If so, then you have discovered the Wisdom of Succeeding.

Let us pray:

Mother/Father/God, We know You as the wisdom of our intellect; the love of our heart; the life of our body; the harmony, peace, and happiness of our relationships; the success and prosperity of our affairs.

I do not want another's gift and they do not want mine. We each want our own which will fit our size and shape, our capacity and desires, such as not the human mind of us, but the highest in us, shall choose

"Lord, let my work contribute to Thy plan,
My labor serve Thee and my fellow man
Be this my goal.' a perfect work expressed,
Each task completed at my present best."j


aIsaiah 58:8
bLuke 6:38
cCharles Fillmore Prosperity pg. 145,146
dHow I Used Truth, H. Emilie Cady
eRalph Waldo Emerson
f19th Century Lord Leverhulme -- founder of Lever Brothers
gDr. Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, p. 122
hJames 1:17
iRevealing Word Charles Fillmore
jElizabeth D. Schumann

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