How To Give Gifts
All things are gifts of God even though God makes man work for them for the sake of his own evolution. The gifts of God include health, prosperity, intelligence, creative ability, will power and, above all, spiritual qualities. Man earns according to his ability, but he could not earn or acquire anything without these God-given gifts.
The divine law of supply
You must show God that you are not attached to your God-given possessions, and that you are ready to share them with others. Most people are willing to offer advice and sympathy, but when it comes to sharing their hard-earned money, they become “tightwads,” believing only in family happiness — “us four and no more.” As you naturally and joyously buy things for yourself, so also must you learn to do the same for others.
There are people who don’t hesitate to buy yachts and costly new cars, but become very tight when it comes to giving a hundred dollars to a needy cause — they feel righteous when giving five or twenty-five dollars to needy causes. The primary lesson to be learned on earth, as exemplified by God, is to share either possessions or money with worthy, needy people or, even better, with worthy, needy divine causes. The divine law of supply will secretly work for you once you learn to give to others as freely as you give to yourself.
Self-expansion through others
You must learn to give gifts to others in secret, even as God gives sunlight, air, food, life, love, and wisdom shrouded in utmost secrecy. If anyone gives money to another and brags about it, he destroys its sanctity. The divine law does not give the reward of revelation to bragging souls. God wants all gifts to be presented in secret, unmarred by pride or publicity. The greatest givers are those who are so engrossed in giving that they have no time to think of their giving.
To present gifts to others silently, and in the spirit of seeing their needs as your own, expands your self-identity: you begin to feel God’s omnipresence in other hearts. The boastful, egotistical giver is better than the miser, and reaps some benefit from his giving, but he misses the reward of Heaven: self-expansion in the hearts of others.
Proud giving concentrates the mind on the false, insincere applause of men, but humble, silent giving unites the heart of the giver with the heart of the one benefited and with the spirit of God. If you present material and spiritual gifts to others silently, as if you were giving to yourself, God will reward you with the perception of Omnipresence.
The gift of love and peace
Always be sure that love and good will go with your gifts. What God receives when you give material gifts to a temple or church is not only the gifts but also the devotion that prompts one to give. More than material gifts, God loves the gift of love, peace, and devotion offered in the temple of one’s heart.
That is why Jesus said that before you offer a gift to God in a temple, you should become reconciled with an estranged brother so you can offer God a temple of your own love and peace. To behold an enemy in any soul is to eclipse God’s presence there. Never lose the consciousness of God’s omnipresence by failing to see Him hidden in an enemy-brother’s heart.
A spirit of sacrifice is important
In God’s eyes, the nature and amount of the gift are unimportant, only the quality of devotion infusing those gifts. Small gifts saturated with selfless devotion and given in a spirit of sacrifice are more pleasing to God than large gifts given without similar difficulty. True devotees find their highest fulfillment in giving and sharing all they can, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. Indeed, for such devotees there is no sense of sacrifice, only joyous self-offering.
Devotees should ask themselves from time to time: “In what spirit am I giving?” It’s important to always give in a spirit of love and sacrifice, and not according to what you can easily afford.
Expressing gratitude helps us
We should be thankful each day for all the gifts of life–for sunshine, water, and the luscious fruits and greens we receive from the Great Giver. God makes us work so that we may consciously and gratefully receive His gifts.
There are millions of people who, drunk with egotism, think they keep themselves alive with the money they earn. They never stop to think that man can make neither a grain of wheat nor a green leaf. Nor can he create the life force that gives power to life.
The All-Sufficient One does not need our thankful hearts, but when we are grateful, our attention is concentrated upon the Great Source of all supply, which alone can bestow upon us the gift of abundance and the lasting gifts of love, joy, wisdom, and peace.
From articles and lessons, 1934-1942.
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