One of the most important and powerful of all Spiritual principles is Service to others before Service to Self, the other two being the Realising God Within and Unconditional Love.
One of the reasons humanity is in the state it is currently in, which is unsustainable and will not be sustained as we experience the transition of the ages, is due to a focus on self before others. The mission of the masses is often to amass wealth and material possessions as a first priority, and by any means available, often even if it means adversely affecting others in some way.
The primary reason for this is the flawed thinking that the only way abundance and thereby perceived happiness may be attained is though physical effort and often manipulation of others.
As newsletter readers will know however, there is only one true Source of Abundance as well as Health and eternal Happiness and that is Within. There is literally absolutely nothing that we cannot be, do or have, as channels of expression and experience of Source, of Whom we are all integral and unconditionally Loved aspects.
As the Master said:
"And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom". --Luke 12:29-32
In other words Source, God already knows that we have need of the material things that we need to live a happy and abundant life, and will always provide them to us. However, these things will only be provided if we recognise that our Source of supply is indeed within. If a person believes that the only way to achieve their objectives is through hard "work" and manipulating others, then so shall it be because that is the reality the person has created for themselves.
Jeshua goes on to say that if we seek our wishes, needs and desires within, and above all realise Source, God, within, then all of our wishes, needs and desires will be "added unto us", in other words they will flow effortlessly into our physical experience. He concludes by saying that we should never fear, because it is "your fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom", in other words anything and everything we could possibly desire.
So what can we deduce from this in the context of giving and service?
Quite simple this. Once we know that our true Source is within, and that we no longer need to toil in the physical world without in order to achieve literally anything we could possible wish for, then we become free to be of service to others by giving freely of our time and anything else we have to offer in order to be of service to those others in ways that will benefit them the most.
Let us now take a closer look at the subject of Giving.
Many will no doubt have heard of "tithing", the act of giving part of your earnings to some worthy cause of your choice. Tithing however is also the source of much misunderstanding and even manipulation.
Tithing, and indeed the act of giving. or in the middle east "giving alms" is not something we do in the hope of being rewarded by a benevolent God who will reward us in some way for your actions.
Giving is an Energy in and of itself. By giving we are saying and above all feeling that we are already abundant, and we can therefore afford to give some of that abundance to others. So giving for the sake of giving, or in the hope of being rewarded by a benevolent deity will be largely or completely ineffective.
When we give we must do so with a feeling of abundance and the desire to share that abundance with others, and in so doing we will receive even more abundance in return, because it is that feeling of abundance that attracts even more abundance.
Also giving does not need to be in financial or material terms - it can be the giving of any aspect of you at all in the form of your time or service.
By joyfully giving of our time to others with a feeling of service to others we are saying to the Universe that we are abundant in available "time", and in so doing we will attract even more time to enjoy as we desire, free from the need to "make time" in other ways.
But again, and this is most important - it is what we feel when giving of our time that really matters. If for example you were to go and work for several hours per week in a "soup kitchen" in the hope that the benevolent deity will reward you, then you are going to be disappointed. Of course giving of your time to help others in a soup kitchen is still a worthy thing to do, but only if done out of genuine Love and Service and desire to help others who need it, not reluctantly in the thought that God will not reward you otherwise.
So in summary it is not the physical action of giving that matters - it is rather the feelings, emotions and service that are behind it that really make the difference.
Now what of Service?
Again the Nazarene Master shows us the way when we can understand the inner meanings of his words correctly:
"And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meet? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup,and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." -- Luke 17:5-10
This parable describes the work of a servant who toils in the fields all dy, doing only that which is expected of him, at the end of which is is only concerned about obtaining his material sustenance and no more.
The servant however feels that he is not receiving fair compensation for his toils because even though he might have done more work that day than was expected of him, he has still only received his usual compensation and no more.
We might also ask at this stage what all this has to do with "Faith" which was the original question from the disciples.
The parable is teaching that in order to acquire true faith, we have to work at it. Not physical work however, but true inner work with the right mindset, a mindset that is a tacit acceptance that gaining the level of Faith required in order to fully realise our true connection with Source, and the abundance that will result is not "occasional" where we feel faith when it suits us, but a full time, non-stop connection with Source, realising God within, and the way to achieve this is through true Faith.
By Faith we do not mean blind theological based faith as for example with a faith that some deity called "God" lives "up there"
somewhere watching over us, but true Faith of our intimate connection with Source who is within us and through us as channels of Expression and Experience of God within.
Jeshua goes on to warn us that if the faith is only there when it suits someone, and as a result they do not experience their wishes, needs and desires, they will feel cheated just as the "unprofitable servant" felt unprofitable for not receiving additional compensation for his "overtime".
Jeshua then goes on to remind us that providing we know that we are an aspect and channel of experience and expression of God all the time, and feel the emotions and true Faith that all our wishes, needs and desires will always be met, then we have taken a big step forward in realising our true inner relationship with God and therefore our potential as Creators in the microcosm, our individual world, and co-Creators in the Macrocosm, the collective Universe within Universal Mind.
This parable also teaches, in the context of service, that we should never adopt a "what's in it for me" attitude, but rather to adopt the attitude of constant, unconditional service, which will bring with it rewards much greater than the mere trinkets of material possessions, and that such a level of Inner Faith will bring us unlimited Abundance, Joy and Health is all things.
So the absolute teaching of this parable is this:
Always be of continual, unconditional service, born out of Unconditional Love and Unconditional Faith and in the knowledge of Source, God within, and we will have the power to perform what are generally known as "miracles", and all things will become possible to us, even to the point of asking a large tree to move and it will do so. Not only can we move trees, or mountains, we can move anything at all depending only upon our Faith of the God-force that resides within us all as Unconditionally Loved, integral, aspects of, and channels of Experience and Expressions of God, Source, Our Divine Creator.