Ask Not What You Can Do for God, Ask What God Can Do for You

Wait a minute, surely, there’s a mistake in that title? I got it the wrong way around, right?

Wrong.

After my last post, inspired by the parable of the unforgiving slave, something was nagging at me. There was something deeper within the parable that was speaking to me, something that I had missed.

And then it came to me!

The unforgiving slave had pleaded to the king for forgiveness of his debts, but refused to show forgiveness to his fellow slave. The king found out and forgiveness was revoked.  The king’s forgiveness was contingent upon the slave’s ability to forgive others. There is something in the dynamic here that I believe has a much wider application than in respect of forgiveness alone.

I want to be healthy. I want fantastically good health and to live a long life. Do you think God would grant me that if I were to ask? Maybe. But maybe there’s a condition attached; the condition being that I have to work in some way to improve the health of others and then God will answer my plea.

OK, I also want to be wealthy. Not because I desire material trappings or the admiration of others, but simply so I can feel financially secure and dedicate more time to things that I’m passionate about: family, friends, travel and spiritual exploration. I’ve never prayed for wealth because I consider it to be an earthly matter that I ought to be able to resolve for myself, but perhaps I should be helping others become wealthy and in doing so, will qualify for a divine dividend.

So after pondering this for a while, I naturally started to think about the “The Secret”* and the multitudinous other works based upon the purported law of attraction (LOA), all offering to grant you your wishes if you just think about them in the right way. I’ve always been  repulsed by their glossy adverts and the materialistic sentiments that they leverage to  draw people in. And yet, I do think that there is something magical to be discovered in creative visualisation – but perhaps that will be the topic of another post sometime.

The critical difference between the teaching in the parable and those of the greed-mongers is the condition that you will do your utmost to create the conditions you are seeking for yourself, for others.

So often in my own life I’ve become so caught up in the daily grind, so preoccupied with my scarce financial resources that I’ve been consumed with trying to improve my own situation, without stopping to think whether I could be helping others who may be in the same position. I think this is a perfectly natural mode of behaviour and that it would take a real act of will to think beyond the boundaries of one’s own circumstances, but that is what I am going to aspire to do.

So get asking God for favours and perhaps, if you do your bit to help others obtain whatever it is you desire, you may just find your prayers are answered.

What do you think? Am I on to something here?

*I need to be completely honest and admit that I’ve never read or watched The Secret, but have had discussions with friends who are proponents of it.

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