Where attention goes – energy flows.
As you set about your day, today, what were your thoughts focused upon? Who were you serving as you prepared breakfast?
As you drank your coffee?
What were you thinking about?
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.
But even more than that, in James we are told that when we ask for anything in prayer, we are to believe that it is ours, otherwise, it will never be. There is no room for doubt in our mind when we ask because if we hold onto doubt while asking, we should expect to receive nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.James 1: 5-8 (ESV)
Serving one master
Today I want to look at a verse from Luke that I have struggled with until I finally understood it.
But, I admit, it has taken me years to reach this place! The verses in question are the following –
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”Luke 16:10-13 (ESV)
They are preceded by a parable in which Jesus talks about the unscrupulous servant who is stealing from his master, and yet who it seems Jesus does not judge for his final acts. He actually says that he made a great choice – writing off the debts that were owed to his master in exchange for making sure that when he was on the streets that there were those who would take him into their homes.
A few weeks ago, I looked at the question of “Which God do you serve?“. Today’s readings are very similar – along exactly the same lines — getting clarity on why do you do what you do?
Are you busy living your life purpose or are you simply surviving and hoping that’s good enough?
All of this starts in our mind – with our thoughts. Our thoughts show up in words – especially the words that “just pop out” when we least expect them. When we accidentally speak our thoughts! Our words predicate actions – when we have thought too much on one thing, started speaking it – before long, we find ourselves doing it. And that becomes a habit. Then character. And finally, it defines who and what we are.
That is why Jesus cautions us against trying to serve two masters: get clear on why you do what you do.
How do we treat the poor and needy?
Through the readings of today’s Lectionary, we get this view of the treatment of the poor and downtrodden, and the mourning that is taking place in the heart of the Creator.
19 Behold, the cry of the daughter of my peopleJeremiah 8:19-21 (ESV)
from the length and breadth of the land: …
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”
21 For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded…
Worse yet, we read in Amos about the trampling of the poor, the use of unjust weights and measures, and keeping them underfoot!
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needyAmos 8:4-6 (ESV)
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
And so we are urged to pray for our rules, politicians, and those in high positions, that we may all lead a peaceful and quiet life, dignified in every way.
How we treat the poor and needy is simply a reflection of where our thoughts are at.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Why do you do what you do?
What are your thoughts focused on?
I started out by asking a question: what are your thoughts focused upon?
Are your thoughts on serving Divine Love and living your purpose? Or are your thoughts on surviving and getting by? Perhaps you aspire to greater than just getting by, and your thoughts are fixed on growth and getting educated and making a way for yourself.
And yet – if you claim to serve God AND are thinking about these things – there is still a struggle in your mind.
Who is the master?
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto youMatthew 6:33
Can you trust that if you are seeking the kingdom of God – within you, at hand, near you – that all these things will be added to you? That while you search for the kingdom of God, living as a child of God, you will grow, get educated and do better for yourself?
If you discover your purpose — and you live that purpose — do you have the faith to believe that you will not want for physical and material needs?
We already read in James: “when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.“
Being of two minds
I don’t know about you – but I truly struggle with this – being of two minds. Knowing what my purpose is… working on living up to that… and then getting scared and refocusing my attention back on problems, challenges and obstacles.
I lose focus of who and what I am, and then I see those problems and challenges as being bigger than they are. I give them power.
And because I give them (and my fear) power – I make decisions based on fear, rather than decisions based on faith!
And then I have to bring myself back to centre. Back to being reminded that I am a God-child – created in the image and likeness of Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear in that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.Marianne Williamson, Return to Love
Your playing small does not serve the World.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As we let our own Light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Allowing I AM to be I AM in me is the most powerful I will ever be.
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.Ps. 82:6
Who are you choosing to serve today? Who — or what — is your master?
When will you be ready to focus exclusively on being a child of the Most High, with all that this entails?