Religion VS. Relationship

July 21, 2009

(The following is an excerpt from my upcoming newsletter…:-)

Religion VS. Relationship

Religion is man’s distorted, manipulative attempt to harness the god story and use it to further his own selfish purposes.

Relationship is God’s idea of how we’re to co-exist – with him and with each other.

Religion is based in fear, guilt, shame, and bondage.

Relationship is based in love, freedom, peace, and self-expression.

It is vital that each one of us recognize that there is a difference, because I have seen so many people go through their entire lives with spirits that are in such severe atrophy and anguish that it’s a wonder to me that they are still alive. And I don’t use that wording lightly.

When you begin to understand that man’s religion is different from the Creator’s model of relationship, everything begins to change.

Seeing relationship instead of religion makes us look differently at ourselves and our relationship with God.  Instead of seeing ourselves how man sees us – and attempting to live up to some distorted, guilt-ridden code of conduct – we are allowed to see ourselves as free, as powerful, and as beautiful.

Whereas religion seeks to reduce the individual to some kind of robotic, indistinguishable clone that never does anything bold or dangerous, a thriving relationship with the Creator God brings us a colorful, purposeful life filled with greatness and brilliance.

When we are in relationship with the Truth, with God, it means we no longer have to live with the idea that we somehow don’t make the cut.  He’s already made the way for us to be called “worthy, family.”

It changes how we look at our earthly relationships.  It forces us to consider the idea that we are all connected in some powerful, eternal way – again, to each other and to God.  Which, if that’s the case, then we have got to learn to treat each other better, right?

If religion divides us and puts us into all these little categories and then tells us to hate everyone not in our little category, then relationship kicks down the walls and tells us that we are all connected, and that the fundamental elements holding all of this together are love, not hate.

Freedom, not fear.

Joy, not sorrow.

Life, not death.

So today, will you be religious, or will live like you’re in the best relationship in the universe?


I Saw Jesus Today

July 19, 2009

I Saw Jesus Today

“Yeah right.”

“Impossible.”

“What?”

I imagine those are some of the reactions you may have had when you read my headline, but it’s true.  Let me explain.

In Scripture (Matthew 25:31-40), Jesus says something profound.  He’s talking to a group of people – some who love him and some who hate him.  He’s talking about two kinds of people…the people who stop to clothe and feed and care, and the people who are too “busy” or otherwise ignorant to the plight of those in trouble.

He says that those who have cared are going to be invited into the party.  Those who didn’t, no party.  My paraphrase.  This is the 21st century version, ok?

He goes on to say to the first group, basically, “when I was hungry, you fed me.  When I was naked, you clothed me.  When I alone, you comforted me.”

As the story goes, this group of people who are like “What?  When did we feed your or clothe you or comfort you?”

Jesus then says one of the most profound statements in all of history, one that holds incredible significance to me.  He says “Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for me.”

Meaning, when they saw someone who was hungry, and then gave them food, they were actually, in some metaphysical supernatural way, feeding the very belly of God.  They were mystically giving comfort to the Creator of all things

Really pause for a second to digest this.  If this is true, then what does that mean to you and I?  Could it really be that when we go get groceries for that old lady down the hall in our apartment who smells like old pee we’re actually buying groceries for Jesus?

When we see the guy at the end of the bar, smoking his cigarette, staring blankly into his beer looking so sad, and we feel compelled to go over and offer him some words of encouragement, are we really, in some strange way bringing comfort and joy to the Author of all the Universe?

On the other hand, Jesus says to the second group “Depart from me…” And they’re like, “When did we see you hungry or naked or thirsty or in need?”  And Jesus reminds them of the times when they didn’t pause.

The time when they were too busy updating their Facebook status on their iPhone to stop and hug the sad woman in the grocery store.

The time when they spent half their marriage finding fault and being ruthlessly cold to their partner.

Now, without getting too into it, this is where grace comes into play.  We are going to mess up and be mean and fail to help.  It’s a given, no matter how hard we try.

Yet the moral of this little tale is to live your life with the attitude.  It’s a long-term lifestyle that we can practice each day.

So to that end, and with all these layers in place, let me tell you how I saw Jesus today.

I was at an office building, and I saw a lady getting out of her car.  She was in obvious discomfort, hobbling and straining.  I’ve seen this woman before, and she’s extremely kind and pleasant, and I’ve noticed that she has some kind of challenge.

So I asked her if she needed help, to which she responded that someone from the office usually comes out to help her in.

At that moment, this blond-haired guy comes running – I mean sprinting – out of the office building with a giant smile on his face, as if this – helping this nice little lady – was the highlight of the day for him.

And I almost started crying.

In that instant, I saw Jesus.

I didn’t know Jesus was blond or that he wore a Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Champions shirt or that he had an American accent.

And I didn’t know that Jesus was a short little African American woman with some kind of muscular disorder who struggled to get out of a car.

Yet there was no denying it was him.

Today, ask yourself the following questions: where is my opportunity to touch the Creator?  How do I care for “the least of these?”  And when I see these opportunities, will I ignore them?  Or will I embrace them?


Brain Drain

May 24, 2009

Turn off the TV.

Put down the newspaper.

There is a world spinning past you.

I was talking to someone the other day who went on vacation, a camping trip to the mountains.  Granted, she was a small home-based business owner, but she was telling me how much trouble it was to disconnect.  She was tempted to check her emails and voicemail and do some work.

This is a common problem for us today.  We’re at the height of technology and science and gadgetry.  Seemingly each day, a must-have toy or software program comes out on the market to keep us “connected,” something to help us stay organized and efficient.  We’ve no sooner figured out how to use it than something better comes along, and we start the cycle again.

I’m a gadget guy.  I love James Bond and the high-tech spy movies.  I’m a total sucker.  I can easily spend hours and days working on the computer.  Every two years I like to completely reformat my hard drive and give myself a fresh start, and I love to do it.  I’m totally on board with iPod® and iPhone® and the entire on-demand thing.  My dvr is always running, grabbing up all those episodes of The Family Guy and Lost.

But I can tell when I’ve been too absorbed, and I’ll tell you exactly when that is.  It’s at the end of a Sunday during football season.  I’m a huge fan, and I can easily lay around all Saturday and Sunday flipping from game to game and pre and post game talk shows.  Maybe I’ll have had some beers.  But I’m pretty much a drooling mess.

I’ve seen a couple hundred ads for beer and cars and fantasy football and oil and more cars.  My emotions are drained from all the excitement of watching the Steelers win again (yes, the Steelers.  Bring it.)  There’s been no real mental or spiritual stimulation, so my brain is just kind of numb.

And in moments like that, I think about all the people who do that every day.  People who never unplug.  People who don’t realize that each ad, each commercial, each bit of information, is all going inside somewhere.  It doesn’t just go in and out.     It gets lodged somewhere, and until it’s processed properly, it builds up.

It’s like plaque.  Either in our veins or our mouth, if we’re not taking active steps to remove the harmful deposits, there will be a buildup until something happens.  Either a cavity or a coronary.

Information is the same way.  There’s a passage in the Bible that says “take every thought captive.”  That means that we really need to be very aware of the stimuli and influences that are fighting for our headspace.  There’s a saying in the computer world “GIGO – garbage in garbage out.”  Kind of in line with the “reap what you sow” principle.  If you want a harvest of goodness, put goodness into you.  Or at least weed the garden every once in a while.

The problem we face today is this constant, incredible speed at which we’re moving.  We find it extremely hard to unplug, to shut down.  There are lots of people who I’ve talked to who have the theory that they can “sleep when they die.”  We were not created to be 24/7.  We need sleep.  We need silence and reflection.  Or we’ll eventually end up depressed, angry, and cold.

The truth is that we are organic physical and spiritual beings that can only handle so much artificial substance before we begin to break down.  Whether that means eating right, exercising, or unplugging from our technology, we MUST give our bodies, minds, and spirits a break, a time to reboot.

If you are reading this and feel a deep down tension, like you just don’t have enough time or energy, or you feel scattered in your mind and spirit, I challenge you to unplug, at least for a little bit.  Go for a walk on the beach or in the mountains, and instead of thinking about the bills or time you’re wasting or the paper you need to write or the kids, look at the sky and trees and the natural beauty.

Do a 30 day fast from all unnecessary media (whoa, crazy, huh?)  Shut off the TV, pick up some books from the library, and really make an effort to stay quiet.  At the end of those 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how clean and peaceful you feel.

One of your necessary elements, crucial to your success as a fully functioning, fully alive human being, is peace.  (To see some others, sign up for my newsletter.)  The absence of conflict.  How can you have peace when you’re bombarded by thousands and thousands of messages all pulling you in separate directions?  How can you be at peace when you never stop to take a breath?

The point of this life is life.

In every way possible.

You were put here to LIVE, not just exist.

And unplugging is a good start.


Does God Use Drugs?

May 24, 2009

Seems like a strange question, doesn’t it?  Possibly heretical?

I was having this discussion with a guy yesterday about how we get from place to place in our lives, and I began to tell him about how my life took a major turn when I began to use drugs, particularly LSD.

A lot of sacred cows in my life were slaughtered during this stretch of time, which was about five good solid years.  It’s not a time that I egret at all, and in fact am very thankful for.  But it does raise the question: did God use these drugs to guide me into the place that I’m at today?

I guess we have to start out with the idea that God is indeed leading our lives, that if we are willing to turn over control, that He will make the highest and best use of them.  Personally, I have too much evidence to say that I’m just wandering in the breeze.  I know that there’s a plan, and if I’m a created being, which I also believe, then it makes perfect sense for me to believe that there is someone who is extremely interested in how His creation turns out.

So I believe that God used drugs to help shape me and form me.  I believe that as much as I believe that reading books or watching movies has shaped me.  I don’t believe it was His first choice though.

So why would He allow me to be a part of such a seemingly anti-religious lifestyle?  After all, don’t most of us hear from the time we’re little that drugs are bad and that you are some kind of lowlife if you use them?

If He is my Father, as He calls Himself in the Bible, then why would a parent with so much love towards their child allow that child to endanger themselves?

Could it be because He’s also given us the right to choose our own paths and make our own decisions?  Could it be because decisions and choosing are how we learn about Him, how we grow closer and discover more of who we are and what He means to us?

As my son Ethan continues to grow and become aware of the world around him, I find myself giving him just a little more freedom than he previously had.  He’s now playing with markers and crayons, and I’m not nearly as cautious about it than I was when he first picked them up.

Do you know why?  Because he’s already tasted them.  He’s already hurt himself with them and made a mess.  This is expected when kids are growing up.  It takes time to get familiar with something new, and there are going to be mistakes.  But I don’t want to rob him of his creativity and awe of life by trying to keep him in this cocoon and insulate him from any kind of failure.

The same applies to us.  We’re going to make mistakes.  We’re going to taste things that make us vomit.  Some things we do are extremely dangerous and hazardous to our health.  Some things will get us killed.

But God allows stuff.  I don’t know why He allows all that He does.  To me, there is too much pain and too much suffering on this earth to believe that it is all good with God, that God is somehow just letting it all pass in front of Him for the sake of seeing us learn and discover.  In fact, I believe that He’s in pain watching most of the stuff we do.

But I also believe that even through all these mistakes and wanderings, He’s always telling us what the best way is, every day.  And for me, my wanderings led me into the world of drugs and experimentation.  And while I can’t believe that He was thrilled with my decisions, He wasn’t going to cast me into some outer darkness or abandon me because of them.

Instead, He spent that time placing His purpose and dreams inside of me.  He was patient and loving, even as I was ugly and dangerous.  When I was seeing little cartoon figures running around on a lake, He was seeing the potential and texture that was being grafted into my life.  He protected me when I was truly in danger.  And most of all, He never gave up on me.

So if you find yourself wandering or wondering or feeling guilty, please relax.  God doesn’t hate you.  He’s not even angry.  He loves you, and sincerely wants you to examine what you’re doing. He hopes that at some point you realize that His plans are better and more complete for you, and if you tap into them, they will awaken something that you’ve been aching to find.

All you have to do is pay attention.


Why You Get Taken Advantage Of (Part II)

May 24, 2009

Who are you trying to please?

That’s what it comes down to.  We live our lives seeking approval.  We do strange things and make critical choices based on what we want other people to think of us.

The problem with this is that those people we’re trying to please aren’t living our lives.  They ultimately have no bearing on who we are meant to be.  Yet we operate most of our lives out of this intense desire to be accepted by someone who matters to us.

Let’s be clear.  I’m not saying it doesn’t matter what other people think of us.  Our integrity and reputation often rely on a perception of what people think.  It is generally a good thing to want to make our parents, teachers, peers, and so on proud of us.

The problem arises when making people proud becomes more important than doing the right thing.  You get into trouble when you do things repeatedly solely because you think it will make someone else’s life easier.  This is a breeding ground for a life of heartbreak and frustration.

Self-sacrifice can be noble.  It is a huge part of living an epic life.  But there is a fine line between self-sacrifice and martyrdom.  More often that not, you must make decisions that might seem selfish but in effect are what’s ultimately right.  Again, you’re the only one who is actually living your life.

The sad truth is that when you make decisions out of these noble but falsely-based desires, you become pigeonholed.  People quickly pick up on the fact that they can push off the things they don’t want – be it emotions, physical labor, relationship problems, etc – effortlessly onto you.  They know that you’ll just accept it.

This results in a life of never enough.  There is never enough time, energy, money, emotion, etc., because everything is out of balance.  This person can never concentrate or assess what is truly important in their own life, because they are so busy trying to keep everyone else’s leftovers in order.

I used to sit in a cubicle next to someone who had this complex.  She was the most negative person I’ve ever met in my life.  Seriously, she had a black cloud hanging out over her cube.

Every day I’d ask her how she was, and she’d reply in this pitiful, nasally voice “Oh, you know.  Just hanging in there.”  I would try to offer encouragement, but for the most part my efforts were wasted.  She was the one that everyone else knew would do the dumbest, most inane work, the stuff no one else wanted to do.  And guess what?  She did it, whatever “it” might be.  Did she complain?  Yeah, a little.  But she knew and everyone else knew that at the end of the day, she’d be the one stuck with “it.”

I wanted to shake her.  It was so frustrating to observe.  I tried building her up and help her grow a backbone, but she was so stuck in her ways of self-mutilation and self-pity.

This comes down to a belief.  It is a deep, core belief that is formed somewhere along the way.  It is the issue of worthiness.

When we don’t think we’re worth it, we operate out of a position of lack and fear.  We defeat ourselves, sabotage our own plans and desires because we are craving that acceptance.  We tell ourselves that “if I just do this one thing, then this person will think I’m a good person.”  Or “I can’t say no to this person.  They’re too nice.”

We make all kinds of excuses about why we should do these things for all these people, believing that by doing whatever it is, they will somehow validate our worthiness.  But do you know what people generally respect more?

Someone who is strong.

Someone who has boundaries.

Someone who can say no and give reasons why they said no.

Someone who believes they are worth more and deserve better.

Someone who makes a decision and sticks with it.

Making the Change

Maybe this article hits really close to home.  Maybe you’ve been struggling with feelings of worthiness and are constantly taken advantage of.  Here are three action steps to take that can help you change the way other people view you, and more importantly, how you view yourself:

  1. Learn to make a decision and stick with it. The sooner the people around you see that you’re serious, the less likely they’ll be to even try shoving their garbage onto your plate.  People learn quickly, but you have to draw that line in the sand.  Today, tomorrow, seven years from now, you have to abide by the new boundaries that you are setting.  Otherwise, you’ll permit the whole process to start over again anew.
  2. Operate out of confidence and faith. You must believe that it is good and right for you to have these boundaries and principals.  You must respect and love yourself before anyone else will.  What you believe about yourself makes all the difference in the world.  If people reject you for standing firm, it’s not the end of the world.  Your true friends and family will always stay by you, even if it means a short period of adjustment.
  3. Build for the future. Decisions we make today shape our tomorrow.  If you make the best decision today, you will thank your tomorrow self.  Don’t you want to find yourself in tomorrow happy, peaceful, and sure?  (Nod your head yes.)  Take the hard steps today that will make you whole tomorrow.

Read Part I of this article…


Characteristics of Success by Ronald Haeckel, USAF General (ret.)

May 2, 2009

CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESS

by

Colonel Ronald J. Haeckel

30th Support Group Commander

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

January 30, 1996

In the summer of 1994, General Henry Viccellio, Jr., Commander of Air Education and Training Command, delivered the commencement address to my Air War College class.  He outlined five characteristics of success that I found to be very useful:

– Absolute integrity

– Sense of community

– Personal concern for others

– A critical mind

– Ability to withstand adversity

When asked to define integrity, may people will equate it with honesty; but, I think of it as more.  Most dictionaries describe integrity as an —

unimpaired condition or soundness, a firm adherence to a code–especially moral or artistic incorruptibility, or completeness.

Good judgment, honesty, and wholesome core values are major cornerstones of the important trait called integrity, and the basis for a personal code of ethics.  Once you are truly committed to that code, you’ll have the tools necessary to make sound decisions, even in difficult situations.  Your decisions will consistently reflect your inner core values during times of high stress or when a rapid response is required.

The responsibility for choosing a proper code of ethics rests with each individual.  Some make the right choices; some don’t.  In developing your special code, talk to someone you respect and admire.  This person should be able to describe their view of life and why they chose the path they did.  But, remember to tailor your beliefs and attitudes to suit yourself.  Only in this way will you be able to follow this code in challenging situations.

The second characteristic of success is to have a sense of community. That is, to have a sense of belonging to something larger than yourself.  Many of us at Thule AB, Greenland, my last duty assignment, identified with a shop, a flight, a dorm, or a special group of friends.  I challenge you to think bigger than this; think of the entire Vandenberg community.

The numerous opportunities to contribute to Vandenberg will give you the variety you’ll need during your tour of duty here.  Additionally, many of you are so diverse that the base can use your talents in several different areas.  But, most importantly, if you identify with Vandenberg, you will have contributed to the good of many others in this community.  That’s where the true satisfaction lies.  That’s why those with a sense of community, those that contribute to a larger entity, are often associated with success.

As you may have heard me say before, we can’t accomplish our missions without our most important resource–people! The only way I know of detecting minor irritants before they become big problems is to get to know the people you work with, and then get out among them to experience their lifestyles.

To know the individuals who work with you, you must develop an atmosphere of trust.  This works in two directions:  you must trust them and they must trust you.  Trust must be earned over a period of time, but can be accelerated by someone who listens well and will empower others to do their jobs.

Experiencing the lifestyles of others goes beyond hiding in your office all day.  You have to visit the work centers and see situations first hand.  In this way, you’ll be able to better understand issues that will confront you and know what your friends go through each day.

By getting to know people and experiencing their lifestyles, you can detect irritants before they become big problems.  However, honest caring and concern must also be present to resolve situations.  People must feel important–must be important to you.  This is the only way they will perform at their very best.  And this is the only you will be able to care for them over a long period of time. Get to know the people you work with.  They are our most valuable resource.  Only through caring for them will you be able to accomplish your mission at Vandenberg.

A disciplined, critical mind is also an important characteristic of successful people. Many of us want to accomplish tasks in the correct way–to do the job right.  But unless you can determine what the right task is, you may be wasting your time.

Someone with a critical mind will ask questions about a project before beginning.  They will ensure the road upon which they are about to travel is the right road.  Once they begin the project, they will continually reevaluate apparent solutions to be sure of their answers.  This is not a sign of lack of confidence; indeed, this type of careful approach will strengthen an individual’s confidence in his/her final proposed solution.  One word of caution, though:  too much reevaluation usually results in a loss of momentum with some confusion about the original tasking.

When the going gets tough, I believe there are two things people rely on:  themselves and others. Turning inward, most of us rely on our professionalism and training in adverse situations.  If you are prepared for difficulties or have experienced similar situations before, current problems seem much easier to handle.  Unfortunately, most of us can never be completely prepared for every situation.  There is always some new problem lurking around the corner, waiting to test our abilities.  Because of this, it may be wise to have a method or process for handling problems, rather than specific, predetermined solutions.

A richer resource some of us turn to for help are our friends and team mates.  Reliance on a team expands the experiences you have to draw on, and gives you a wider variety of s strengths to bring to bear on the problem.  The socialization involved in sharing your problem with others is also an advantage to handling the adversity in this way.

No matter what difficulties bombard you, you will be a stronger person for handling it.  Current problems build our endurance for greater adversities in the future.  Consider it a growing process.  Sometimes growing is painful, just like exercise at the gym.  But once we begin to shape up and get used to the exercise routine, the next days become easier.  I’m not saying there won’t be setbacks–there always are.  But if you’re in shape, those setbacks won’t be as devastating.  When dealing with adversities, be prepared personally and rely on a team of friends for support.

These five characteristics (absolute integrity, a sense of community, concern for others, a critical mind, and the ability to withstanding adversity) will enable you complement your units’ plan for future operations.  Practice their application to be ready for tomorrow’s challenges.

_________________________________________________________

General Haeckel retired August 1, 2005. Here is the bio from his final assignment.

Brig. Gen. Ronald J. Haeckel is Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy, Washington, D.C. As the senior military officer assigned to the NNSA, he ensures the administration provides safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons to meet Department of Defense requirements; directs U.S. nuclear stockpile maintenance and support functions; and provides oversight for all defense programs within the DOE.


The Law of Reciprocity (Pt. iii) – Forrest Gump Style

April 24, 2009

For those of you living under a rock, “Forrest Gump” is a movie starring Tom Hanks as a simple guy who has a low IQ but leads a remarkable life.  All his life he’s been told that when he’s confused or scared or hurt, he should run.  Running got him into college football.  It got him a Purple Heart in Vietnam.  And in a scene towards the latter part of the movie, it gets him one of his many harvests.

Forrest Gump’s running scene is the law of reciprocity in action, and he doesn’t even know it.

He has just had someone extremely close to him hurt him bad.  She’s left him, and he’s standing on his front porch in Alabama, staring down his driveway.  He steps off his porch and says “so I decided to go for a run.”  He runs down to the end of his driveway.  Then down the street.  Then across town.  Then across the county, then the state, then to the Atlantic ocean, and then to the Pacific.  He starts running back and forth across the country, and in the process is unintentionally scattering the seed that is unique and individual to him.

He’s running for days and months all by himself, obscure and alone.  Although I think he would tell you that it was great and enjoyable, it represents the time of toiling and groundbreaking that must take place to sow a harvest of magnificent and exponential beauty.

So he’s running back and forth.  Eventually people begin to notice his seeds that are now springing from the ground.  Some begin to follow him.  People keep trying to ask him why he’s running, but he says very little.  So they decide that he’s running for charity, or that he’s trying to attract attention for world peace.  They begin to develop all kinds of reasons – personal, political, spiritual – but he doesn’t say much and just keeps running.

Along the way, he becomes the inspiration that a few entrepreneurs needed to hit it big.  And more and more people join him.  Finally after more than three years, he stops running, tells everyone he’s pretty tired, and goes home, leaving several dozen people wondering what they were supposed to do from there.

So Forrest Gump began this trek out of the passion and uniqueness that had simply become a major part of him.  He already had his seed.  As he ran back and forth, in effect tilling the ground, he scattered that seed, and all kinds of things began to spring up.  It was completely organic and simply overflowed from a place within himself that struck a chord with many other people.  He had the right seed in the right soil at the right time.

And if he wanted to, at that point he could have done any number of things.  He could have written a book or started a foundation or branded himself and become a spokesman for a cause or agenda, like some of the people thought.  The fields were bursting with the sweet aroma of harvest.

And this brings us to the last part of this law – the receiving.  Oddly enough, this is where many people miss it.  When the harvest is ripe – and there is a perfect time – it needs to be gathered.  But even if we’ve sown the right seed and tilled the ground and kept the fields parasite and weed free, our attitude at this point can render all this activity moot.

There are two ways we can sow, give, receive and harvest.
The first is from a position of fear and lack.
The second is from a position of faith and abundance.

The first position, like I touched on with Scrooge McDuck, sows with an attitude of simply taking and hoarding.  This attitude says that there is only a very limited amount, and whatever I get, I’m going to hold tight to it because I may never get any more.  I’m going to store and store.  There may be some giving in the process, but it’s a self-serving kind of giving – giving simply as a means to an end to get back.

When a person sows and reaps with the fear and lack mentality, they actually end up missing many, many opportunities for a greater and richer harvest because they are so focused on their own end results and self-preservation.  The person operating in fear and lack has a steady flow of people walking up to their door, but they are sent away, because that person fears they will take their harvest when it’s full.  They fear that if they share their crop, there won’t be enough to go around.

In contrast, the person operating in faith and abundance gives away as much as is reasonable, because they know that as long as they have a good harvest, some of those people will tell their friends, and they will tell their friends, and it will become something that is exponential and effortless.  It will have no choice but to multiply.

There’s a story in the Bible that illustrates this perfectly.  Jesus tells a story about three servants who are entrusted with different amounts of money (called talents) by their master.  One is given five talents, one is given two, and the third is given one, “each according to his own ability.” The master leaves.  The first servant takes his five talents and makes five more.  The second takes his two and makes two more.  The third servant takes his and buries it in the ground.

When the master returns, he asks for an account of what the servants have done with what he’s entrusted them with.  He’s pleased with the first and second servant, but angry with the third.  He takes the talent from the third and gives it to the servant who ended up with ten.  Then he banishes the servant from his service, calling him wicked and lazy.  He says, “To everyone who has, more will be given…but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

I read a really good commentary on what Jesus means by this story, and how it is part of the law of reciprocity.

**If you use what is given to you, you will gain more.  If you fail to use what is given to you, you will lose even what you think you have.  Whether in physical, intellectual, financial, or relational dealings, whatever is given to you, however small it is, use it.  Use it diligently and on an ever increasing scale.  Set goals to increase whatever you do. “**

The difference between operating out of fear and lack as opposed to faith and abundance is a little like having the choice between the luxury car or the beater.

When we’re sowing out of a giver’s mentality, we are entitled to the luxury car.  Yet because we often are seeing through the eyes of lack and poverty, when it comes time to harvest, we choose the beater, even if we are giving.

Conversely, when we operate from a standpoint of a getter, we can only have that beater, but we go ahead and claim the luxury car.  Then we get angry when we get neither.

So the Law of Reciprocity looks like this:

  1. Operate out of an attitude of faith and abundance, not fear and lack.
  2. Have seed of great substance; seed that is unique only to you; that is packed with core and fundamental value and content.  Every chance you get to give this seed away, do it.
  3. Know the seasons, the soil, and the prime location
  4. Toil and work the land, overcoming and persevering at all costs
  5. Be patient and faithful to the vision and the harvest.
  6. At the proper time, reap and receive.  And then give it away again.

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To see more writing like this, check out my book, The Human Code

** Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 2008