190. Teach Me to Spend For Others as I Spend for Myself
If, through Thy grace, I have more wealth than others, teach me to share the surplus with those who have less, or even nothing. For Thou art in the poor as much as in the rich. In giving wealth to the rich, Thou gavest it to Thyself. But wealth is not only a blessing: It is also a test to see whether people, having received that blessing, will also be rich enough in compassion to share what they have with those who are less fortunate.
The blessed who care not for the unblessed, and the fortunate who care not for the unfortunate, will never feel Thy deeper blessings in their lives. Blinded by their own selfish opulence, rather, the Law will require them to be poor again, that they may see that Thou dwellest equally, and sometimes even more openly, in the homes of the poor. The unfeeling rich must experience poverty again and be stripped of their comforts, that they may feel the pinch of others’ wants as their own.
Blessed are those who share Thy abundance with others. Riches were given to them that they might learn to give to others. Those, however, who keep useful treasures locked away, mildewed and rusting, or simply unknown, when man’s duty is to make this world better and more beautiful, are like cobras sitting protectively over a hoard of jewels which serve them nothing. The magnitude of their misery is rendered all the more gross by the fact that so many of their brothers are wailing by the wayside for help. Misers will die in the much more grinding poverty of a dry, shriveled soul.
To die rich without having shared anything is really to die poor. And to pass the portals of death willingly impoverished by having gladly shared with others is to die truly rich.
Teach us, Lord, to feel consideration for those who have lost their wealth or their health. Teach us to feel even more for them than we would for any loss of our own. If we shrink at the thought of becoming poor ourselves, teach us, by empathy, to sympathize even more with those who are already being ground under the wheels of material want of any kind.
Teach us to spend as happily and freely for others as we spend for ourselves. Teach us not to love Thy gifts more than Thee, the true Giver of all gifts. For to think more of Thy gifts than of Thee is to separate ourselves from Thee.
Those who share Thy gifts freely with others, even as Thou sharest the gift of life and consciousness with them, find themselves one with the life and consciousness of all.