WORLDLY-WISE OR WORLDLY WISDOM?
Some years ago a student wrote, “Although we are rather struggling financially and would dearly like to improve in this way, that is not my main purpose in taking this Course. What I wanted (and still do) was a clear, relaxed mind. And I knew I needed a far stronger faith before I could achieve it.”
Another wrote, “I go house cleaning two mornings a week. Worldly speaking, I am not likely to have any more money, having stopped work and having all old relatives dead.”
I am putting these two extracts together (they came on the same day) because unconsciously they give two aspects of thought about money which appear over and over again in the letters that come to me.
Regarding the first extract, let us take an illustration to help us. We will suppose there is a woman who has been widowed and left with six young children under fourteen. She has very little money coming in despite the government allowance and national assistance. The children need new clothes, yet they have such big, healthy appetites that all the money seems to go on food! One day she is at home, looking sorrowfully over the frayed, patched garments and wondering how she can keep them in use a little longer. “If only I had the money to set them all up in new outfits “, she thinks wistfully.
Just then a knock comes. When she opens the door, there stands a local man who is known to be very wealthy and kind.
I have heard that you are finding your circumstances difficult “, he explains, “and I want to give you some help. Now what do you need most? Is it something that I can supply?” The woman is touched and grateful, but regretfully she has to tell him that he cannot supply the thing she desires most of all.
“You see “, she explains, “what I want most of all is a peaceful mind, full of faith in God.”
But surely!” the man exclaims in astonishment, if you had the financial help you needed, you would have peace of mind. And when you remembered the way it came to you-as a result of my impulse to offer it today, you would have faith in God. So by receiving that which you need most of all, you also gain a greater understanding of God’s love.”
“Why, I never thought of that!” the woman cries delightedly. “All my life I have set money apart as something ‘not of God’, as something ‘worldly’. Yet I have known I needed it for daily living. It has made me feel guilty at times, because with all these children I needed it so much.” They talked together on these lines for a while until the subject was quite clear. Then the woman gratefully accepted the money to buy new outfits for all the children, which was the thing she wanted most of all just then.
The man generously added enough for a new outfit for the mother too! Then she found, to her great satisfaction, that she also had “a peaceful mind, full of faith in God.” For she knew that the wealthy man had been inspired with the idea of making his offer to her. From that time on she began to link her mind to the Abundant Mind of God. She saw the supply of the present need whatever it was, as part of His divine blessings. And as a consequence, she drew closer to Him when she was in need, rather than retreating guiltily. Gradually all her circumstances opened out and improved in natural, pleasant ways. Within a few years she was comfortably off, bringing up her children abundantly and in the understanding of God as Divine Supplier.
We come now to the second extract. I expect you will have some ideas about it at this stage! As you have seen the writer refers to worldly-speaking “, yet it is obvious that she considers this to be topical and ade- quate reasoning. For here is the second aspect of faulty thinking-that is, believing in Divine supply only if the way it could come is apparent. Such a viewpoint anchors the individual in the limitations of human consciousness and cuts him off from the infinite possibilities of divine consciousness.
The truth is that where we see no way, God makes a way. For God is the worker of wonders. God’s Mind transcends the mind of mankind, so can see into and beyond that which is grasped by human recognition. If we only have faith in that which we can already see, we have faith in the human and not in the divine. For Divine Intelligence has no limits at all, neither of time, nor of space, nor of power. Therefore, if there is a need, let us draw closer still to God. Let us express that need to Him, linking our thoughts concerning it to His Mind, waiting trustfully for His mysterious and perfect way to be unfolded to us. This is faith.