The Service of Giving

Unless people receive good in a right way they cannot hold it. The prodigal son in the parable received plenty. The share of goods his father bestowed upon him should have been enough to establish him in the beginning of an enterprise, but he sought a wrong environment, where there was spending and no earning; and when upon the spenders and wasters there came a time of famine, he who had been fostered and enriched by a father's love "began to be in want." He lacked the necessities of life and discerned the unwisdom of his course in wastefully spending his substance in an endeavor to satisfy personal wantings.

How many are perpetually unsatisfied in wanting this and that, vexing themselves and others with complaints! Their need is for a change of attitude such as took place in the thinking of the prodigal son. One who is materially-minded has a wrong sense of substance and source, for matter is neither substance nor source; being does not originate in flesh and blood, nor does a man's life consist in "the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Jesus' remedy for unsatisfied wanting was, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God;" then he said regarding the things needful, "All these things shall be added unto you."

As the thoughts of men change in the right process of seeking and finding, their desires are more and more uplifted, and their prayers evidence this. They no longer are begging for earthly things and giving thought to these; their prayers are inspired with desire for heavenly things, such qualities as in man are evidence of real life, expressing likeness to Mind. Now, no one can desire the qualities which reveal God's image and likeness for himself alone; if he has spiritual illumination he transcends personal limitations and cannot be selfish. Ritualistic prayer, which in some eras could be paid for, and which was expected to result in blessing to the purchaser, was formality rather than true praying. Of this prayer it can be said, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." This passage from James is translated in the Revised Version, "that ye may spend it in your pleasures."

"Sing in faith"
February 18, 1933

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