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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 4 GGJ04-81 Chapter

(AUDIO/VIDEO/TEXT The Path to Eternal Life, Band 4 - Chapter 78-83)

Chapter 81 - On right giving that is pleasing in the sight of God.

81,1. (The Lord:) "This concerns the pure concept of what is mine and what is thine. Moses says: 'You shall not steal!' and again: 'You shall not covet that which belongs to your neighbour, except when it is lawful to do so!' {Ex. 20 15} {Ex. 20 17}

81,2. If you honestly purchase something from your neighbor, it is then your lawful possession before all men. But to take something secretly from a person against his will is an offence against God’s ordinance as handed down to the people through Moses, as such an action is clearly in conflict with love of one's neighbor. What you would not wish another to do to you, you should equally not do to your fellow man.

81,3. Theft usually originates from self-love which encourages indolence, a taste for good living and inactivity. From this point a certain despondency develops, cloaked by a kind of arrogant shyness, which does not allow one to agree to a somewhat embarrassing request, but is more comfortable with secret larceny or theft. Thus, there are a great many character faults which support theft, the most obvious of which is overdeveloped self-love. This malady of the soul can always best be counterbalanced by active love for one's fellow-men.

81,4. It is understandable that you are now thinking: 'It would be easy enough to practice love for your fellow man if only you always had the necessary means to do so. But in every hundred people there are seldom more than ten whose circumstances would allow them to exploit this splendid virtue; the other ninety are usually those on whom the wealthy are supposed to practice their benevolence. However, if stealing can only be successfully curbed by the active love of one's fellow men, the ninety poor folk will hardly be able to refrain from it completely since they lack the means to use this virtue in a very effective way.'

81,5. From an intellectual viewpoint your thinking is quite correct and no one can object to it on rational grounds. However, the heart speaks a different language, and this says: Charity is not only evidenced by gifts, but rather by all kinds of good deeds and honest services which must not, of course, lack good-will.

81,6. Good-will is the life and soul of a good deed; without it even the most positive one would be valueless before the tribunal of God. However, if you do not possess any means, but have the honest good-will to wish to help your neighbour when you see or find him in some difficulty and your heart is troubled because you are unable to help him, then your good-will is worth much more before God than some other person’s deed which he has had to be enticed in one way or another to perform.

81,7. If a rich man has helped an impoverished community to regain its feet because it has promised to pay him tithes or show him subservience once it has financially recovered, his good deed is worth nothing before God, for he has already reserved his reward for himself. What he has done, any usurious miser would have done for profit.

81,8. This example shows you that anyone, rich or poor, can act charitably before God and to benefit his own inner, spiritual life. The important factor is the existence of true positive good-will so that the donor is unreservedly prepared to do whatever he can.

81,9. However, good-will alone would not be worth much if you were quite wealthy, were not lacking in good-will, but had too much regard partly for yourself, partly for your children, other relatives or other contingencies. If you therefore were to fail to help the one needing charity sufficiently, or perhaps not at all, for one of these reasons or simply because one can not always know whether or not the supplicant might be a lazy scamp unworthy of the help required. Thus, one would only be supporting an idle scoundrel while a more worthy person might not receive support. If a more eligible one should appear you would have the same doubts, for it is impossible to know for certain whether one or the other is truly worthy of help.

81,10. Yes, my friend, a man of good-will who even with the best intentions has doubts whether or not to do some unusual good work does not yet enjoy a proper life style by a long way. In his case therefore neither his good will nor his good deeds count for very much before God. Where there are the means, the good will and the deeds must be in balance, or the one reduces the value of the other and the validity of both before God.

81,11. Whatever you do or give should be done or given with a joyful heart as a kind giver or helper is worth twice as much before God and is that much nearer to his spiritual perfection.

81,12. For the heart of a kind benefactor is comparable to a fruit which ripens easily and before its time because it contains an abundance of warmth within it. This is essential for the ripening of a fruit, since warmth holds the element of life, which is love.

81,13. The willingness and kindness of the giver and helper therefore represents that highly commendable full development of the correct inner, spiritual warmth of life thanks to which the soul matures more than twice as quickly to achieve total spiritual integration into its being. This must be so, since it is this very warmth that represents the migration of the eternal spirit into the soul and this relocation in turn results in a progressive increase in their similarity.

81,14. The most dedicated giver and benefactor is the more distant from true, inner spiritual perfection of life, the more surly or lacking in compassion he is when giving or helping. Such an unkind and surly attitude still reveals materialistic, worldly elements and is therefore much more remote from the pure heavenly element than a joyful and friendly one.

81,15. Nor should you accompany your charity with admonitions which are serious and may often be bitter. These words may cause the poor brother great sadness and a longing not to be obliged to accept any more charity from a benefactor who keeps reprimanding him with a serious face. Besides, such ill-timed words of censure often make the benefactor feel a little superior and the recipient is humiliated and even more conscious of his own poverty by comparison with the benefactor's wealth. Under such circumstances it becomes far harder to receive than to give.

81,16. He who has wealth together with good-will gives easily but the poor recipient of his charity is, even with the most friendly of donors, afraid to be a burden to his benefactor because of his poverty. How much more must he be troubled if the benefactor adopts a sullen face and offers a string of wise reprimands before his act of generosity. His manner could make any future approach much more difficult because the second time round the recipient could expect even wiser, more prolonged and more emphatic censure, as much as to say: 'Be sure not to return here too soon - or even ever again!', although the benefactor may not even have remotely thought this way.

81,17. A willing and friendly giver is by far preferable to a sullen preacher because he comforts and gladdens the heart of the poor person and makes him feel grateful. It also fills him with loving and wholesome trust in God and in people, and his otherwise heavy yoke becomes a much lighter burden which he can then bear with more patience and resignation than before.

81,18. A safe and inviting harbour is to a seaman on a stormy sea the same as a cheerful and kindly benefactor is to a poor, needy brother. A sullen benefactor is however like a partly sheltered bay that protects the ship from running aground, but keeps the skipper in a state of anxious tension wondering whether, after the storm abates, the bay might possibly be swamped by a dangerous spring tide that could cause more damage than the storm on the high seas.

81,19. You now know all that God wishes you to know about the scope of God’s will regarding the attainment of true spiritual perfection, readily achievable through love for one's fellow men. Act accordingly and you will reach the only true goal of life easily and without delay."

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