Today we are beginning a 7-week series on Abundance based on the teachings of Science of Mind Minister David Owens Ritz. At the end of today's message, I'm going to ask you to make a decision that could utterly change your life. You could do nothing more than come hear the messages each week … and you will surely get something from them. Or, you could decide to jump into the program with both feet and take all the actions it recommends. It will be totally up to you. However, I will make you this promise … if you decide to take action on the ideas we'll be exploring, you will not be the same person in 7 weeks as you are today. Your life will not be the same either.
I can make this promise because of what happened to me. When I came to Unity years ago, my sense of abundance and life's possibilities was very weak. I was unhappy in my marriage … in my job … with my finances. Practicing the principles of this series consistently, even though at times imperfectly, has transformed my life. Today, my life is overflowing with loving relationships, the satisfaction of worth-while work … good health … fun … and enough money for everything I need and want. And I live with a level of peace, faith and trust I did not even think possible. This did not come about by just showing up at church. I took classes, read spiritual books, embraced Unity principles, sought support and followed the guidance that felt right. It took a commitment … but the thing is … I really wanted to change. And let's be honest, what of value does not require commitment. Okay, so … let's begin:
Abundance is a spiritual reality that can never be altered. The great spiritual masters of the ages have all taught that life is naturally abundant. Lack, limitation and poverty may be facts in our world, but the Truth is that there is no lack in the Universe. Supply is unlimited. While we may believe this intellectually, most of us have not fully integrated it. We fear and we doubt and, in doing so, we block the flow of good into our lives. But that does not change the Law that GOD is the One and ONLY Source of our good. And this Good is unlimited. All power, intelligence, wisdom, matter and energy are manifestations of the one infinite Source. When we are able to place our total faith this Truth, we will have the key to unlimited abundance in our hands.
Each week we recite the 5 Foundationial Unity Principles. Principle 1: There is only one presence and one power and that power is Absolute Good and Unconditional Love. In Principle 2, we learn that we humans have divine potential within us because we are made in the image and likeness of God. And Principle 3 goes a step farther and says that, we create the experience of our lives through our way of thinking, feeling and acting. This is a path of personal responsibility which flies in the face of victim consciousness. It is also a formula for awakening spiritual power.
In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 12, Jesus says simply, Your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Now when Jesus talks about the Father, he is not talking about a man with a white beard up in heaven. He's talking about the infinite Ground of Being … THE CREATOR … THE SOURCE. The Kingdom is the field of infinite possibility in which we live and move and have our being. What Jesus is saying is that everything we need and want is already here – the field of infinite possibility AND the power to draw from it everything we need to create an abundance life.
However, having the power to do something and knowing how to use that power are often very different things. You have a computer right? It has a LOT of power … it can do thousands of things. But most of us don’t know how to access even a small percentage of that power, do we? That is our situation with the Laws of Abundance. Since we do not know how to use the gifts of the Kingdom, lack, limitation and poverty show up as FACTS in our world. But this does not change the Truth … which is ALWAYS universal, unlimited good.
New Thought teaches that facts and capital “T” Truth are different. Truth is that which does not change. You can ignore Truth – you can deny it – you can believe something totally opposite to it, but you cannot change it. Truth is always there and always the same, whether you believe it or not. The Truth is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience in a loving and supportive spiritual Universe. Yet, our facts don't often reveal this Truth. We go around believing in lack and limitation -- believing in shortage – and therefore, OF COURSE, creating lack, limitation and shortage. But, here's the GOOD NEWS … our beliefs are our choice! Our beliefs are not Truth and so they can be changed! Over the course of this 7 weeks, we have the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Truth … and if we decide to place our faith in THIS Truth, rather than in the appearances or FACTS we've created so far … this Truth will set us free from the experience of lack and limitation.
We need to start by creating a common understanding of the word "abundance". Right now there are probably 100 different ideas in this room of what abundance looks like. So let's agree for the duration of this series that abundance is far more than accumulated wealth or a large income. True abundance is good in all of its forms … money, health, happiness, peace, love, fulfillment. In short, abundance is the power to satisfy our needs and make our dreams come true. Let's make this our working definition: Abundance is the power to satisfy our needs and make our dreams come true.
So … let's be honest … most of us have used our inherent power to create lots of conditions and situations that CANNOT be called abundance. Why? Because we don't really know what the True Source of abundance is…AND we don't know how to open ourselves up to the flow of good into our lives. We’ve been on the wrong track. We’ve been busy following the “myth” of the material world and chasing things, especially money and possessions, that we think will bring us security, satisfaction and happiness. But reality is that a truly abundant life can only be discovered through greater awareness of God and our own spiritual nature and potential.
The pursuit of money and possessions, even relationships, for their own sake will not lead us to a greater understanding or experience of abundance. On the contrary, these things are like water running through our hands … the more we grasp for them, the more elusive they become. The Truth is – the more we seek to share … the more we seek to trust in life … the more we seek to love ourselves … and the more we seek to release ourselves from unhealthy attachments … the more we will enjoy true spiritual freedom and abundance.
I know this seems like paradox. Most of us have been taught that the way to be prosperous is to go out there and get more – love and stuff and money – and hold onto them really tight. But, in fact, abundance is an experience that comes as the result of living life from a higher level of thought. It's living from a consciousness of faith and gratitude and it's making our ONLY pursuit the understanding of God as the one, infinite Source of all good.
This is really important … There is only ONE Source of our good – and it's not our job, or partner, or money or the stock market … these are merely channels. The Source, from which everything flows, is the creative power of this Universe we call God. The only way to activate the flow of abundance … in all its forms … is through the awareness and TOTAL EMBRACE of this Truth. Most of us are not there yet.
Jesus entire statement on the subject of abundance is found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 12, verses 22 through 34. This is the finest lesson on prosperity ever written. In it, Jesus is speaking to people just like us – people who are worried about where their income is going to come from … how their needs are going to be met. He is speaking to people who are living with a sense of lack. I know you've heard this passage before, but I'd like you to REALLY listen right now … listen with your heart.
"And where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And what is the heart? Where is that purse that won't wear out? Where is that treasure that can't be exhausted or stolen? What in you cannot be affected or controlled by what goes on in the world? ONLY your consciousness! Jesus is talking about consciousness. He's talking about awareness. He's talking about faith.
He is not saying that we are to literally sell all our possessions and give the money away. He is saying to become mentally and emotionally unattached to material stuff and use our energy to build our consciousness. And THEN, everything else we need will come to us without the pursuit of them being the object of our lives. No matter what happens, if we have the consciousness of knowing that GOD is the Unlimited Source of our good, we can weather … in fact thrive … though any storm.
Jesus is talking about how natural abundance is too. He says look around you … see how abundant Nature is. Yet, it doesn't struggle; it doesn't strive. But, he says, you do. You worry all the time. You believe in lack and you believe in limitation and THAT is why you struggle. But look around you, nothing else in nature is doing that.
We understand this intellectually, but we don't really GET the idea in our hearts. When we worry … overwork … fret … complain … hoard or withhold our good, we step out of the Flow. Through our consciousness of lack, we make an exception to the great law of infinite abundance that supports this entire universe. Consider this … we human beings are the only of God's creations that even has the ability to worry or believe in lack and limitation and thereby step out of the flow of abundance. And a big part of the reason we human beings do this is the limited and often dysfunctional understanding of what money is and the place it holds in our lives. We give money so much power … power over our happiness … our sense of security and well-being … our self-worth … our attitude toward life – you name it. When in truth, money, in and of itself, does not have this power – unless, of course, we believe it does. And if we believe it does, well … then … it does.
Money, rightly understood, is a symbol of value – a medium of exchange we have collectively agreed upon. As it comes in, we exchange it for the goods and services we need to function in the world. We do not really own our money. Its flow through our lives is but a small step on its greater journey. After it leaves our hands – it continues to circulate throughout the economy being earned and spent, earned and spent many times over. Its value depends upon this continued circulation. Seen from a higher perspective, money is a manifestation of creative energy flowing in and through our lives. It is one medium we use to bring that which we desire into expression, but it is NOT the Source of our good.
When we believe there's a shortage of money, it becomes a symbol of lack rather than abundance. We begin to struggle to get more of it … and become apprehensive about spending it. Well, consider this … you're out watering the flowers in your yard and you accidentally step on the garden hose. What happens? You restrict the flow of the water, right? When we carry the belief that there is a limited amount of money available to us, it’s like standing on the garden hose. We restrict its flow.
One great outcome of this series would be for us to learn to trust in the circulation of money through our lives as completely as we trust the circulation of blood through our veins. Both are natural, both are constant and both are part of the divine plan.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to become increasingly aware of how we think and talk about abundance. Imagine there is a little Observer Elf sitting on your shoulder watching you and tapping you every time you use the word "only". This little Elf is going to help us wipe the word "only" out of our minds and out of our lives.
Our words, either spoken or silent, have power. For example, when you say or think, "I can't afford to do that … after all, I only make $25,000 a year" … the Universe … which always echoes back your thoughts … responds by saying, "Right you are … you can’t afford that." And creative thought ends there … creative thought that, if it had continued to flow, would certainly have found a way for you to have what you want.
This whole series is going to be about challenging and changing these types of limiting beliefs. Because, the belief in limitation must be healed in order for us to experience true abundance. In its place we will cultivate greater faith in God as the ultimate, unlimited Source of our good … and along with it, the feeling of freedom and gratitude that comes from knowing we live in the constant flow of the divine current.
There are no shortcuts or quick fixes for achieving true abundance. The process of raising consciousness takes time and commitment. Most of us have spent a lifetime building our belief in lack and limitation. I would love to find a hole in the bottom of my mind and just sweep all that stuff out, wouldn't you? But it doesn't work that way.
Commitment is the key … and it's a word that's often misunderstood. We usually think of it rather negatively … as something we HAVE to do that we don't want to do or something that sounds really, really hard. The commitment we have the opportunity to make today is different. This commitment is more like a grand experiment. Those who take hold of the experiment are going to prove for themselves once and for all, that the path to abundance taught by the material world is 100% wrong. We are going to prove for ourselves that the way to have more of anything is to give that same thing away.
This IS a challenging experiment, because it's going to feel strange. We're going to have to take some leaps of faith to see it through. The experiment is to LIVE THE LAW OF CIRCULATION for these 7 weeks … and by doing so, activate the flow of abundance in our lives. We are going to step off our water hoses by giving ourselves to life more fully than we ever have. And we are going to find out, once and for all … through our own experience, that life WILL then give more of itself to us.
Today, I am asking you to begin to tithe your time … your talent … and your treasure to the source of your spiritual nourishment. I am asking that you go home today, and sit down and decide what your tithes will be for these 7 weeks and where they will go. Some of you will decide that 20 or 30% of your time, talent and treasure is what you will give … others will decide that 5% or 10% is what you will give. That's not the most important part of this experiment. The most important part is that you make the decision thoughtfully … in advance … and commit to your decision … and follow through with it for the whole 7 weeks. Again, I am asking you to intentionally decide how much of your time, talent and treasure to give and how and where you will give them. The one condition is that it must be to a Source of your spiritual nourish-ment. This could be a person or an organization.
Tithing your time means spending a pre-determined percentage of your waking hours developing your spiritual life. Examples might be starting or extending a meditation practice … or taking a spiritual class. It would certainly be a good start to sign up for the class on Affirmative Prayer that Peggy and I are facilitating during Lent.
Tithing your talent means giving your talents as a gift to the world … not expecting to be paid or even thanked. Volunteer here at church … or at another organization that does good work in the world … or spend time helping someone whose presence enhances your life.
Tithing your treasure is the same … give a pre-determined amount of your money to someone or some organization that nourishes you spiritually … for no other reason than the pure joy of giving back.
If you are already living as a giver to life, I'm asking that for this seven weeks, you kick it to the next level – and see it you do not experience an even greater flow of abundance into your life.
I am completely confident that you will be amazed by the results of this experiment because it's universal law that what we bring to life is what we get back from life. If I give more energy to my spiritual growth, I grow spiritually. If I give more energy in loving service to people, I experience more love and support in my own life. If I give more of my money, I not only receive more money … I get to experience myself as a channel for the flow of abundance. And each time I experience these things I grow in the awareness of and trust in God as my Source. This is the Treasure that can never be taken from me.
I am calling this experiment Love in Action. If you are willing to be known as an intentional giver of your time, talent and treasure over this 7 weeks, put your name on the sign-up sheet in the foyer, and when you come to church next week, you will be given a name badge that says: Love in Action … I participate in the Law of Circulation. In this way, you will be an inspiration for others.
Commitment to the Love in Action experiment offers the experience of feeling what its like to be an unconditional giver to life. We will get more, but we won't be giving in order to get. We'll be giving in order to FEEL what it is like to BE love in action … to BE in sync with the Infinite Universe … and to BE a co-creator with God. Sound good?! Let’s do it!
So now, let us prepare for a time of meditation. I invite you to set aside anything you may be holding in your lap, place both feet on the floor and gently straighten your spine. Relax now – simply breathe quietly for a moment.
Picture now your heart … can you picture it beating in your chest. (pause) Such a miracle. Imagine your breath flowing in and out from your heart. (pause) Becoming very still now … so still. Imagine you can feel your heart beat.
The great teacher Lao-Tzu said: The human spirit has its source in a cosmic flow, even as rivers have their source in some far off fountain. To know one’s fountain is to know the secret of life.
God is our Source. To know this is to hold the secret of life.
God is Love – the vibration of life energy that is all of creation. We are living and breathing in God.
God is the Substance of Which All Things Are Made.
God is Absolute Good – the field of infinite possibility and limitless abundance that is constantly pressing Itself into me and into you.
There is not and never has been any separation between God and us. Our earthbound minds have created the illusion of separation – the illusion of lack.
Now, in a time of silence together, let us un-tether our minds. Let us soar free – released from limited thinking. Let us join our individual minds with Divine MInd by repeating to ourselves: I am One with God … Source of all that is.
In the Silence.
I am One with God … Source of all that is. Nothing is withheld from me. I am an open vessel and the infinite Life Force of the Universe flows through me. Life blesses me and I am a blessing to life. And so it is. AMEN.