Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."
I want to talk on prosperity today. Prosperity refers to God’s abundance in all areas of our lives, and to the degree that our needs and desires are being met.
A Spanish Galleon, becalmed for many days, is drifting off the coast of South America. The crew had exhausted their drinking water when they spotted a local ship in the distance. Coming into hailing distance, desperately they called out for water. Back came the response, “Let down your buckets.” “What!” they cried out. How could fellow sailors be so cruel? “Let down your buckets,” again came the retort. “You are surrounded by fresh water.”
What these mariners did not know was that although they could not see land, the freshwater from the mouth of the Amazon extends 200 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. For days the crew of the ship was dying of dehydration amidst an unlimited supply of life-saving drinkable water.
In Psalm 42 we read:
As the deer pants for streams of water, So my soul pants for You, my God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
For many of us, when we think of prosperity we think of finances. So let us consider that first. It is easy to move into fear as we listen to the television and read the reports that come out. The debt, interest rates, unemployment, recession, the stock market … these and more can cause us to move into severe anxiety.
For those who have not had wealth it is difficult to imagine the rich being anxious. But it is part of who we are as a human being. As expected, the wealthy fear losing control, power, money, status, or being singled out and hunted. But there are also deeper and more personal fears, such as being isolated, cheated, not trusting our friends, questioning motives, and not being loved for who we are.
No matter our status, we are like the deer that is panting for a stream; desperately searching for relief. We can feel helpless and adrift, like the sailors. It is at these times that we reexamine our beliefs. Where is our thinking taking us? Poverty and prosperity are mindsets; they are not the absence or abundance of money or possessions. If God’s will for us is absolute good, then prosperity is our divine right, our inheritance.
As a Child of God, we are created to have abundance in all things. This abundance includes material things that will make us comfortable in this life, as well as opportunities to express our highest natures so that we can live a fulfilled and satisfying life.
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Although one of God’s infinite channels for prosperity can include instant blessings, like the Tooth Fairy and leaving money under our pillows, more often prosperity comes to us through God’s creative ideas, dreams, which we then translate into actions. We prosper as we allow our thoughts and beliefs to align with the good that God wants to provide. We have to “let down our buckets” and draw from all avenues of God’s good. Check under your pillows!
When we align our thoughts with Source, ideas flow to us. We are led to the right people; we find ourselves in the right place at the right time. Synchronistic events become the norm. When we are constantly aware of God’s presence our good flows to us naturally and bountifully.
When we ask, God responds and answers. In 1 John 5:14 we are told: And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. Our part in the equation is to listen and prepare ourselves, meaning our thinking and beliefs, so that we are attuning to our good and asking the right questions.
There are a couple of old patterns of human thinking that can block our prosperity. One is that abundance is limited: for good to come to me, then someone else must be deprived of theirs. Sometimes we think that people are out there waiting to take our good from us. The world tells us that substance is limited and can be used up. We must release this false concept. God’s abundance is unlimited; substance is unlimited because God is constantly in the state of creating. Mary once was told that they were educating their 3rd Graders for jobs and industries that don’t even exist yet. There is no lack, except in our seeing and believing.
Another misconception is that prosperity comes from gathering, saving, taking, and hoarding. The truth is that prosperity doesn’t come by getting more – it comes by giving more. We prosper when we focus on giving. This refers not only to our time, money, talents, relationships, and service, but to our spiritual energies of harmony, peace, love, and oneness with all. It is an unavoidable spiritual law – we prosper when we give, and by the measure we give is the measure that is given back to us.
A third misconception is that it is wrong to have abundance; that somehow, we are not deserving, or are depriving someone else of their good. Christ never said it was wrong to have abundance. He warned against the dangers of focusing on prosperity rather than on God. He taught, “Fear not, little flock; for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
Some of us still believe the Bible says, “Money is the root of all evil.” But it says that the ‘love’ of money is the root of all evil. Power is not evil; the ‘love’ of power is evil. It is the attention and focus we give to the world and its temptations that create our woes.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but neither does poverty. It is not pious to be poor and a sin to be rich. God wants us to be abundant because we can only give from what we have. It is our birthright to have our needs and desires met, with enough to share.
Of course, our needs and desires vary from person to person. The ascetic monk has few needs. Others require multiple large homes, and lavish surroundings. We do an injustice to God when we compare what we have with others and then complain. We do not see the challenges and burdens that some people carry because of what we perceive as their abundance. They have their lessons; we have ours. Let us be joyful in what God sends to us. Each of us has our own unique, right, and perfect abundance, and we attract it through our connection with Spirit. This is another area to practice nonjudgment of others since we will all differ enormously.
We each define prosperity for ourselves as the amount required to develop our spiritual nature while having our basic needs met. We are prosperous when we are free to pursue what is important to us spiritually. This has nothing to do with material abundance.
We have an innate yearning to develop greater spiritual awareness. There is a constant call from our inner God for alignment. We sometimes misinterpret this yearning, this void, and so we want to fill it with ‘stuff’. Sometimes we try to fill it with material possessions. At other times we frantically try to fill in the void with drugs, sex, destructive relationships, mutant shopping habits, and a host of other unproductive activities. Yet the sense of emptiness grows larger and the ache more profound. We are thirsty, in a frantic search for life-giving waters. All we need to do is let down our buckets. Our prosperity already exists, but first we must become aware of it, and then claim it.
We start right where we are: by giving thanks for what we have. Then we give thanks for our desires and needs being met before they manifest in our lives. We can acknowledge their existence and give thanks for there presence, and that draws them to us.
From the depths of our gratitude, we naturally desire to return a portion of what our Source gives us back to the Source itself. From our finances, time, and abilities, it is good to give back to the Source of our spiritual nourishment – whether that is a church, an uplifting author or publication, a television ministry, a book club, or an inspirational group. We give to what feeds us spiritually.
This applies to all areas of our life – we give to the people who feed us emotionally. From wherever we are fed we give our support. Forgiveness is another area through which we can give, offering forgiveness to others and to ourselves. It is consistent with the law of the Universe: we take in, absorb, and then release and give back to make room for more. If we do not release, we become like the Dead Sea – rivers feed it, but there is no outlet. The result is a briny lifeless body of water. Unless we release through giving, we become dead.
God’s abundance surrounds us; there is no need to fear. We cannot run out of substance, money, opportunity, relationships, or chances. There are infinite channels for God’s abundance into our lives. But Spirit can only do for us, what it can do through us. Our part is to be grateful and open ourselves to God’s unlimited abundance that is being poured into our lives, “pressed down, shaken together, and running over,” as Luke 6:38 states.
It is my prayer that as we still our hearts and minds, we will hear God calling to us, “Let down your buckets, and drink from the abundant and lifesaving waters of my Spirit that surrounds you.”