In many religions, the concept of prosperity is somewhat challenging. “After all,” some might say, “didn’t Jesus tell us ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’?”(Matthew 5:3) Many religious understandings focus on a duality of this world and the next, with a behavioral emphasis on getting to the next world as quickly and as cleanly as possible. It is little surprise, then, that a concept like prosperity, which in all definitions deals with a certain element of this-worldliness, would be troublesome to people who are new to Unity.
The word prosperity means a great many things, including happiness, freedom, well-being, and support. These ideas are byproducts of a spiritual life and a right relationship with God, and so we in Unity love to talk, think, and teach about them. However, when the word prosperity is popularly used, it most often is meant to refer to one thing: money.
The old concept that “money is the root of all evil” is at least understandable, when one considers all the trouble that money has seemed to cause. We have all read or heard stories about people who have won the lottery, only to wind up in deeper debt and bigger trouble than they were previously. On the other hand, we also know plenty of stories about money and material things being used rightly, with happy and beneficial results. Perhaps it is not money, but rather the feelings we have about money that determine our experience. After all, money is an inanimate object; it doesn’t make people think or do anything. It is people’s feelings about money that can set them free or get them in trouble. In Unity we say that it is not money, but the love of money that can lead to some hard lessons. Money itself has no power, good or ill, of its own. In fact, money can be used for some rather wonderful things, like building churches, feeding the hungry, and printing tracts. Money, like all material objects, is simply a tool. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, would it mean that hammers are evil? Or would it mean simply that you need to learn proper use of the tool and get a better idea about how to hold and use a hammer. This is the case with all things, and in Unity we have a saying: “the idea is not to get the thing, the thing is to get the idea.” If you have the right and true idea about a thing, person, or relationship, you will have a healthy interaction with it, and you will be in the right place to make a difference about it.
In Unity we believe that prosperity, whether the specific definition is life, love, overcoming, success, or something else, is simply the result of having the right ideas about life, and doing something about them. There are many teachers that can help us to find the right ideas, but in Unity we believe that the most significant, historically, doctrinally, and spiritually, is Jesus Christ. This might seem strange, as many religious teachings illustrate Jesus as poor and suffering. It is true, after all, that Jesus instructed the disciples to do away with all of their possessions and follow Him. But in their journeys, did Jesus and the disciples ever really do without? In wonderful ways they were always taken care of. When it was time to eat, the disciples ate. When it was time to pay the taxes, the money was there. When it was time to feed the multitudes, they were fed. Jesus made all of these wonderful demonstrations, without making those things the object of His work and existence. And that focus is what made Jesus’ demonstrations possible. When we seek God first, when we make our primary focus that of life, love, and inner joy, all the outer things are added!
The essence of Unity’s teachings about prosperity can be found in the sixth chapter of Matthew:
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was never clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?” (verses 28-30)
We believe that there is a natural order of things, that God cares for His children wonderfully, because He loves us all. To truly prosper, all we must do is learn how to put God first in mind, thought, and action, and let His miracles work in our lives!
“We do not have to beseech God, any more than we have to beseech the sun to shine. The sun shines because it is a law of its being to shine, and it cannot help it. No more can God help pouring out into us unlimited wisdom, life, power, all-good, because to give is a law of His being.” (Dr. H. Emilie Cady, Lessons in Truth)
Affirmations for the realization of divine substance:
- God is my Source! I put God first in my thoughts, words, and actions.
- God is my Source! I place my trust in God’s infinite love.
- God is my Source! I accept the gifts of God that are present in every word, idea, and experience.
- God is my Source! I am a channel for God’s good in the world, and I share my divine gifts and I let my light shine.
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