ARE YOU A 'GO-GETTER' OR A 'GO-GIVER'?
Let's start with a prayer: Father/Mother/God, be with us today as we open our minds to a new learning, a new teaching of the Unity truths. Help us to embody this teaching in our lives. Help us to understand and apply all the lessons that we take in today. Help us to live a better life, to give to those around us, to help those around us, to pray for those around us whose lives we touch. Thank you, God. Amen.
Our theme for this month is: Prove it! Live, Love, Laugh Abundantly!
So what exactly does that mean? Well, in the New Thought faith and philosophy, we find spiritual principles that teach us how to do just that. We refer to Unity as a church, but it really is a teaching, a training. It's training for:
living abundantly - in ALL aspects of our lives,
loving abundantly - in ALL ways, and
having abundant joy throughout ALL our experiences.
To quote Charles Fillmore, from page 1 of every Unity magazine: "Unity is a link in the great educational movement inaugurated by Jesus Christ; our objective is to discern the truth in Christianity and prove it. The truth that we teach is not new, neither do we claim special revelations or discovery of new religious principles. Our purpose is to help and teach mankind to use and prove the eternal Truth taught by the Master."a
So our mission this month - should we choose to accept it - is to make a serious attempt to prove what is taught in Unity. But, actually, I want us to go further than making an attempt. In the words of the great philosopher Yoda: "There is no try; there is only do."b
So I don't want us to attempt to prove, I want us to PROVE that we can live, we can love and we can laugh abundantly. And we are going to do that by exploring - more than exploring, experiencing - ONE foundational principle this month.
But before we talk about the one foundational principle we will work with all month, I want to lay some groundwork by speaking briefly of the four stages of spiritual development because they are very relevant to our work this month. For some of you, this will be a reminder; for others this will be the first time to hear this.
To balance that, we won't delve into them deeply, but to ensure we all have some knowledge of them, I'll briefly describe each. . . .
Why Me/Mortal - victim, blame consciousness. Me! Me! Me!;
By Me/Metaphysician - vital phase of growth but not the end; learning to be a co-creator; taking responsibility for self; getting/manifesting is important here.
Through Me/Mystic - focus is more on knowing God than manifesting anything in particular; dwelling in the Presence; surrender; setting the ego aside so that God can express through
As Me/Master - Combo of By Me/Meta and Through Me/Mystic; connection with God so strong that manifestation happens instantly; Christ consciousness; Jesus our beautiful role model.
The spiritual principle we will explore this month helps us move into the Mystic and Master stages. Because it is a spiritual principle that, when practiced, causes us to move more fully and more completely into God consciousness.
We get to figure out what this spiritual principle is by listening to what the great religions of the world have had to say about it.
Christianity says: "There are three things that last forever - faith, hope and love - and the greatest of these is love."c [Many versions of The New Testament replace the word love with the word charity.]
In Judaism, charity is the prescription to build a better world and Jewish children are brought up to perform mitzvah's or "good deeds" for others.
In Buddhism, one of the seven treasures one must cultivate to move toward Nirvana is generosity.
The Koran urges Muslims to help others and to give to people in need. As the Prophet Mohammed said: "A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world."d
In Hinduism, generosity is perceived as a pathway to salvation.
And in Unity (which I put on the list of great religions of the world!), Ed Rabel wrote:
"Another meaning of asking in the name of Jesus Christ would be to align yourself with the givingness part of God's nature. Remember that God is givingness itself or let us say that givingness itself is one of the divine ideas in God-Mind. It is a beautiful idea, givingness."e
And so, the spiritual principle we are going to work with this month to prove that we can live, love and laugh abundantly is the spiritual principle of GIVING; of being a GIVER to LIFE rather than being a GETTER! By being a "Go-Giver" rather than being a "Go-Getter!"
As we think about the four stages of spiritual unfoldment, certainly in the "Why Me? / Mortal" stage, and even in the "By Me / Metaphysician" stages of life, we are "Go Getters." Reaching (sometimes grabbing) for our good, right?
In fact there's a Sufi story that speaks of this orientation. It is of a man who is drowning.
People shout at the man, "Give us your hand, give us your hand so we can save you!"
But the man was hesitant, afraid, and he wouldn't do it. Finally, someone yelled: "Here, here, take my hand."
And the man took it. Because the man was so much more in tune with taking than giving, he almost lost his life in the waters.f
The truth is most of us are tuned in to the same radio station. It's not even on your Ipod; it's hard-wired into your head. It's: station WIIFM - What's In It For Me?
This month, we are going to change the station and prove the value of changing that station using a delightful modern parable by Bob Burg and John David Mann called The Go-Giver. This LITTLE book sets forth five BIG Laws of Stratospheric Success based on the foundational principle of being a GIVER to life!g
Today we begin to unwrap this foundational principle and then next week we will begin digging into the Laws.
So I suspect what is going through some of your minds right now. It might sound like this - isn't it just like a minister to talk about giving; it sounds like she's listening to station WIIF UCCV! OR
I'm being really challenged right now - financially, energetically, emotionally - don't talk to me about giving - I've got nothing to give!
So I want to go on record as saying I am not talking to you about this principle to try to coerce you into giving to our center. You will see in a few minutes the multitude of ways and places you can give.
But I do take to heart, very seriously, something once said by Emma Curtis Hopkins, mother of New Thought and a teacher of New Thought teachers. She once said that it wasn't enough to personally know and practice spiritual principles for abundant living, but once we know them, it was our responsibility to teach them!h So, this month, I am assuming my responsibility!
To the second possible concern, the spiritual fact is, when you give when you are hurt or when you are in hardship, you create the energy that can help you through your hard time. Simple as that!
In a magazine I read recently, it said: "We can't free ourselves from being upset by staying in the vibration of being upset. Nothing changes if nothing changes. As we turn our attention to helping someone else . . . in need of our love and assistance, we find that we are no longer in the vibration of being upset. In fact, we have gone from being upset to being the vessel to uplift someone else. As a result, we are uplifted as well. Find a way to be of service, and as you do, you will find that you go from being upset to being uplifted."
So if you find yourself feeling unhappy, try making someone else happy and see what happens. If you are feeling empty and unfulfilled, try doing some meaningful and worthwhile work and see how you feel.
TO WHOM TO GIVE
To Whom to Give
There is no shortage of people and places to whom you can give, even during a pandemic.
yourself your spouse
your children Your siblings
Other family members friends
your co workers strangers on the street
your Starbucks barista your community
social organizations your spiritual community
the planet Who or what did I forget?
WHAT CAN YOU GIVE?
What Can You Give?
Of course we think first of money, and money is fine, but not all. I love the passage at Acts 3:2-8 where Peter and John walk past a lame man begging for alms at the gates of the temple. The scripture reads:
"So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, Peter helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God."i
Here's a partial list of what you can give besides money:
a smile a prayer; a good thought
a blessing; wise counsel; knowledge
information; a referral; love
laughter; your time; your talent
attention; forgiveness; hope
encouragement; assistance; leadership
What did I miss? Here's an important one I missed: touch; even if it is just an elbow bump.
There is a story of newborn twins, one of whom was critically ill. The twins were in separate incubators, as per hospital rules. A nurse on the floor repeatedly suggested that the twins be kept together in the same incubator. The doctors finally agreed to try this. When the twins were brought into contact with each other, the healthy twin immediately put his arm around his sick brother. This instinctive exchange gradually helped the sick twin to recover and regain his health.
The babies' family and doctors witnessed the intangible force of love and the incredible healing power of touch.j
And finally, for this morning, it is not only to whom and what you give that matters but how you give it.
HOW TO GIVE
How to Give
Give with your heart, give with respect and above all, give unconditionally - which means you don't expect to get anything back!
The paradox is that when you give expecting a reward, you won't receive one, because as soon as you focus on getting you put the brakes on receiving.
But, when you give with joy, selflessness and love, you benefit greatly.
And so, my friends, our spiritual principle for this month is . . . the more you are in the flow of giving, the more you are in the flow of living!
I like that, let's make it personal and say it together: "The more I am in the flow of giving, the more I am in the flow of living!"
Remember, though, our charge this month is to prove this principle, not just give it lip service and in order to prove it, you have to PRACTICE it. So every week, you are going to have an assignment.
It's been said that . . ."Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily."k (Sally Koch)
This week's assignment is to look for 3 opportunities to give for the sake of giving with no thought of what you will receive in return.
How many of you remember the movie/book Pay It Forward? A 7th-grade student comes up with an idea that has an opportunity to change the world! One person performs 3 acts of kindness and then instructs those for whom he does the act of kindness to "pay it forward" to 3 more people.
So your mission is to begin proving the principle that will move you into the mystic and master levels of consciousness - where life, love and laughter are abundantly experienced! This week, make the decision to go pay it forward.
Let's pray. Father/Mother/God help me this week to give unconditionally. Help me to seek out new ways to give and new places to give it. Help me to center my attention on giving instead of getting. Be with me this week as I prove this principle and become a go-giver. Amen
aCharles Fillmore, page 1 of every Unity magazine
c1 Corinthians 13:13
fThe Power of Giving Azim Jamal & Harvey McKinnon, pp. 28-29
gBob Burg & John David Mann The Go-Giver
hEmma Curtis Hopkins
jThe Power of Giving Azim Jamal & Harvey McKinnon, pp. 22-23