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Writing from David on the topic of Stewardship
Blessings of Joy and Love! Glory to the One Who is the Giver of Life Eternal. I have been asked to speak on the topic of Stewardship by my sisters and brothers, and so I shall.
Stewardship has its Source in God, Who is the Giver of Life. In relation to this world, the mind believes it has forgotten God and is imagining a sense of incompletion and lack. The sleeping mind believes in needs and wants and seeks for abilities and things and people to satisfy these desires. The Holy Spirit meets these perceived desires as the mind Awakens, teaching the mind to release all false beliefs and concepts that made up the perceived needs and desires. Such is Stewardship. It is stepping back and allowing the Holy Spirit to take care of all the "details" of Awakening. The Holy Spirit leads to an experience of Wholeness and Completion in which there is no lack. As the sleeping mind begins to trust the Holy Spirit miracles light the way, for they show the truth of the idea "I am sustained by the Love of God."
Stewardship is always voluntary, just as Awakening is voluntary. Unless the use of mind effort (time and skills and resources and funds and energy) is entirely voluntary there will be a sense of coercion and a host of "shoulds" "ought to's" "musts" and "have to's." A steward uses what is available in the service of the Holy Spirit's Purpose and comes to experience that Giving and Receiving are the same. The Purpose channelizes all effort in one direction, Atonement or Complete Forgiveness, and this is how perception is integrated and healed of every distortion.
Those who are Called to Stewardship have been Asked to step into their function. Whatever they seemed to possess in this world is given over to a new Purpose that will show them that it is God Which Provides and Sustains, and ultimately that there is nothing apart from Life in God. From deep within, one is Called to this holy function. The only question is whether one will choose to listen to, answer, follow, and fulfill this Call. "I am Calling you out of the world" is the same Call that has remained constant under the shifting world of conflict and scarcity.
Here are some parables about the blocks to Stewardship taken from the back of the Urantia Book. A steward is one who is willing to volunteer for the opportunity to serve God by forgiving and thus releasing all attachments to the world. As a context for these parables, Jesus and his apostles are training disciples to share the teachings and good news of the Heavenly Kingdom:
One earnest disciple came to Jesus, saying: "Master, I would be one of your new apostles, but my father is very old and near death; could I be permitted to return home to bury him?" To this man Jesus said: "My son, the foxes have holes, and the birds of heaven have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. You are a faithful disciple, and you can remain such while you return home to minister to your loved ones, but not so with my gospel messengers. They have forsaken all to follow me and proclaim the kingdom. If you would be an ordained teacher, you must let others bury the dead while you go forth to publish the good news." And this man went away in great disappointment.
Another disciple came to the Master and said: "I would become an ordained messenger, but I would like to go to my home for a short while to comfort my family." And Jesus replied: "If you would be ordained, you must be willing to forsake all. The gospel messengers cannot have divided affections. No man, having put his hand to the plough, if he turns back, is worthy to become a messenger of the kingdom."
Then Andrew brought to Jesus a certain rich young man who was a devout believer, and who desired to receive ordination. This young man, Matadormus, was a member of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin; he had heard Jesus teach and had been subsequently instructed in the gospel of the kingdom by Peter and the other apostles. Jesus talked with Matadormus concerning the requirements of ordination and requested that he defer decision until after he had thought more fully about the matter. Early the next morning, as Jesus was going for a walk, this young man accosted him and said: "Master, I would know from you the assurances of eternal life. Seeing that I have observed all the commandments from my youth, I would like to know what more I must do to gain eternal life?" In answer to this question Jesus said: "If you keep all the commandments--do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your parents--you do well, but salvation is the reward of faith, not merely of works. Do you believe this gospel of the kingdom?" And Matadormus answered: "Yes, Master, I do believe everything you and your apostles have taught me." And Jesus said, "Then are you indeed my disciple and a child of the kingdom."
Then said the young man: "But, Master, I am not content to be your disciple; I would be one of your new messengers." When Jesus heard this, he looked down upon him with a great love and said: "I will have you to be one of my messengers if you are willing to pay the price, if you will supply the one thing which you lack." Matadormus replied: "Master, I will do anything if I may be allowed to follow you." Jesus, kissing the kneeling young man on the forehead, said: "If you would be my messenger, go and sell all that you have and, when you have bestowed the proceeds upon the poor or upon your brethren, come and follow me, and you shall have treasure in the kingdom of heaven."
When Matadormus heard this, his countenance fell. He arose and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. This wealthy young Pharisee had been raised to believe that wealth was the token of God's favor. Jesus knew that he was not free from the love of himself and his riches. The Master wanted to deliver him from the love of wealth, not necessarily from the wealth. While the disciples of Jesus did not part with all their worldly goods, the apostles and the seventy did. Matadormus desired to be one of the seventy new messengers, and that was the reason for Jesus' requiring him to part with all of his temporal possessions.
Almost every human being has some one thing which is held on to as a pet evil, and which the entrance into the kingdom of heaven requires as a part of the price of admission. If Matadormus had parted with his wealth, it probably would have been put right back into his hands for administration as treasurer of the seventy. For later on, after the establishment of the church at Jerusalem, he did obey the Master's injunction, although it was then too late to enjoy membership in the seventy, and he became the treasurer of the Jerusalem church, of which James the Lord's brother in the flesh was the head.
Thus always it was and forever will be: Men must arrive at their own decisions. There is a certain range of the freedom of choice which mortals may exercise. The forces of the spiritual world will not coerce man; they allow him to go the way of his own choosing.
Jesus foresaw that Matadormus, with his riches, could not possibly become an ordained associate of men who had forsaken all for the gospel; at the same time, he saw that, without his riches, he would become the ultimate leader of all of them...Riches have nothing directly to do with entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but the love of wealth does. The spiritual loyalties of the kingdom are incompatible with servility to materialistic mammon. Man may not share his supreme loyalty to a spiritual ideal with a material devotion.
Love & Blessings Abound, David