Thursday, November 13, 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Sometimes the most important spiritual principles come to us in the most commonplace ways. The truth is, spiritual principles are at work in our lives constantly but we don't always recognize that they are and it is this lack of recognition or awareness that causes us to not fully make use of them to our advantage. The Intelligence that permeates the universe in which we live has made these principles available to everyone ... to both saints and sinners ... kings and paupers ... intellectuals and those with a simple mind.
In Eric Butterworth's book, "Discover The Power Within You," we can find a perfect illustration of how something so simple can create for us something far greater than we may initially expect: "The admonition to go the second mile relates to the right of the Roman soldiers in Jesus' time to compel subject people to carry their burdens for one mile. It was the imposition of despotism, but the subject people could do nothing about it. Jesus indicates an uncommon-sense way of doing something about it. They could break their bonds of enslavement by doing what was demanded of them as if they really enjoyed it. And that doesn't make sense does it?
A man tells of going into a restaurant where they had a policy that if any waitress failed to give at least one smile to a customer she was automatically discharged - if caught. He says it was interesting to see the forced, mechanical smiles of the waitresses, who seemed the more unpleasant because of this imposition of the management. But one girl stood out. She smiled like the rest but she kept on smiling - not just the one required smirk. She seemed to enjoy smiling. She actually beamed and radiated a contagious spirit of joy.
He talked to the waitress about this. She said, "Well, at first I resented the order to smile and I almost quit my job. It was no fun smiling when you were compelled to. Then I began to realize that all the smiles except the first one were my own, free of orders. So I always went beyond that one forced smile to feel the reward of smiling. And the result is I find it is an essential key to making my joy an enjoyable experience."
Jesus knew that when you do what is required of you and no more, you are a slave. This is true whether it is meeting the whim of a demanding employer or keeping the laws of the land. To travel the first mile brings the pay check, the forced smile, the formal "thank you," and the humdrum existence. It is all that is expected of anyone. But if you want routine living to become abundant living, you must give more.
When you go the second mile - give more to your work, are more than thoughtful and kind to people, become a joyous giver and a gracious receiver - suddenly life takes on new meaning. On the second mile you find happiness, true friends, real satisfaction in live - and probably a larger paycheck, too. Someone has said, "If you want to get ahead in your work, start taking advantage of your employer by doing more than is asked of you."
"But I do all that I am paid to do!" And that may be true. They don't pay you for the extra joy and enthusiasm you put into your work. But then your pay can't give you satisfaction and as sense of fulfillment either. The person who receives only a pay check for his work is underpaid - and this is true even if he is paid in six figures. The true compensation of joy and fulfillment in a job begins where duty leaves off."
In the scriptures we can read something stated so simply, yet so powerfully: "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
We always get back from everything; our work, our friendships, our marriages, our health ... the spirit in which we experience them. As within, so without. Everything in our life is a "reflection" of our inner spirit. No one can compel us to limit the spirit in which we work or play. So many people write to me and tell me that they want to do "something spiritual" with their lives - no matter what we may be doing it is spiritual when our spirit is alive and expressed in it. Money doesn't guarantee us the joy of an abundant life ... only an abundant spirit of joy and love "expressed" - can give us the realization of life more abundant.
AND SO IT IS!
Keep the faith!
Rev. Henry Bates