WHEN THE WORLD HAS THE WAY, WAR HORSES ARE RETIRED TO TILL THE FIELDS.
What if the whole planet walked in alignment with God? Perhaps, nations would turn their weapons into farming tools. There would be no one wanting to take what belongs to others. Everyone would be willing to do their part and share what they have. Maybe it would be like the first century church. The members shared their wealth with each other. (see Acts of the Apostles)
No one would feel the need to force other people to conform to their image of how life is supposed to be. That’s exactly what gives birth to wars, desires, wants, lusts, perceived needs and inequalities.
WHEN THE WORLD LACKS THE WAY, WAR HORSES ARE BRED IN THE COUNTRYSIDES.
Perhaps Jesus said it best, “The love of money (power, control over others, resources and circumstances) is the root of all evil.” It is this greed that causes nations’ leaders to invade other nations. Sometimes, greed leads to police states. Because some leaders have the ingrained belief that they need to be in control, to exalt themselves above the Way and manage to flow of the universe.
This loss of the Way happens on a global scale, but it also happens on a personal scale. In fact, if it didn’t happen on a personal scale first, it would never occur on a global scale. Everyone would follow Solomon’s advice in Proverbs, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
If you trust in the Lord with all your heart, your desires are not going to go against the Way.
THERE IS NO GREATER LOSS THAN LOSING THE TAO (the Way)….
In the New Testament those who have lost the way are referred to as “the lost,” which means they’ve gotten out of alignment with God’s will, the Way, and are living their lives in a state of resistance to it.
Jesus said, “I am the Way…” he was always in alignment with his Father’s will. Therefore, he was always walking in the way. The rest of us, not so much. The book of Romans says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Put into modern day English, “All of us get out of alignment with God’s will at times. We all err. We all get off the path.”
There is ONLY ONE STEP BACK
Maybe we get off for a second, maybe an hour, or a day or a week or a year or five years or even eighty-five years, but as soon as we realize we have strayed from the Way, it only takes a split second to get back to the Way.
Just as the father in the parable of the prodigal son saw him coming a long way off and ran to meet him, the second you realize you’re off your path and determine in your heart to get back on it, all the help of Heaven comes to meet you.
…AND THERE IS NO GREATER CURSE (avenue of destruction) THAN COVETOUSNESS.
I find these words to echo other words of wisdom, words God once wrote on the tablets of stone that Moses carried down from a mountain.
“Thou shalt not covet (the Hebrew word is chamad which means to desire, want, long for, take pleasure in, delight in, or find delectable) thy neighbor’s (another person’s) wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox (livestock), nor his ass (donkey), nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s (that legally belongs to or is attached to another person.)
After all these years, I finally understand why God said this to the Israelites. God wanted them to be free from the bondage of constantly striving to get more in this life. Always wanting what someone else has is a curse upon a person’s life in that traps you.
THERE IS NO GREATER TRAGEDY THAN DISCONTENTMENT.
I remember reading that old poem, “Two men looked out of prison bars, one saw mud. The other saw stars.”
I imagine both men went to bed in the same cell that night. One went to bed joyous that even though he was in prison, he had been given the gift of a window with which to see the stars and he was happy that he had been given the gift of the stars themselves. He may have been physically behind bars but when he stared at the sky, his spirit soared.
The other man went to bed angry and bitter because he had been cursed with a window out of which he could only see mud. He was both physically and mentally imprisoned. What made the difference? The way each chose to see.
There is no outside circumstance that can bring lasting contentment. No human relationship can fulfill the missing pieces in a person’s life. No amount of money can give you enough freedom to escape your fears of mortality. The curse of discontentment is that it is a bottomless pit that causes you to spend your whole life in pursuit of an elusive state of idealized perfection.
CONTENTMENT WITH GODLINESS
I’ve read that contentment with Godliness is great gain.
Well, what is Godliness anyway? I have come to believe that Godliness means choosing to do things God’s way.
And what is contentment? Does it mean to sit down and do nothing? No. It means that you let go of the need to control people’s choices, outcomes, and events and you learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit or as some people say, divine inspiration.
Following this divine inspiration may lead you down a career path or to an invention. It may lead to an investment or a relationship. Perhaps, it will lead you on a quest or the adventure of a lifetime. The possibilities are as endless as the universe itself.
WHERE THE WAY NEVER LEADS
However, the Way will NEVER lead you contrary to God’s nature. It will never lead you to trick, manipulate, coerce, lie, steal, cheat or commit violence. Nor will it lead you to do things for the purpose of impressing others or proving yourself smarter or more important than them. Why? Because these things are contrary to the Way.
Wayne Dyer says in his book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, that the experience of inner peace is the true gauge of accomplishment. I am learning to follow the gentle, internal nudging of the Spirit, of the Way. This nudge, peaceful inclination, is to act on inspired impulses rather than societal coercion or familial guilt-tripping. I’m allowing spiritual discernment to guide me. I am learning to be still inside, as Isaiah said, “To wait upon the Lord,” and to see things from an eagle’s eye viewpoint. An eagle sees a bigger, more objective picture. I want to make every decision, for the rest of my life, looking through the eyes of eternity.
THE WORST OF FAULTS IS WANTING MORE–ALWAYS.
“An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tunas. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American asked.
“I got enough to support my family’s immediate needs,” the Mexican replied.
“But what do you do with the rest of your time?” the American asked.
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…
–CONTENTMENT ALONE IS ENOUGH.
As the Apostle Paul once said, “Be content with such things as you have.” and as Lao Tzu said, “The bliss of all eternity can be found in your contentment.”
As I sit here this morning, I look around me. There’s a kitten curled up on a patio chair. Flowers bloom beside the porch and a breeze stirs the walnut trees. The sky above is rich and blue with fluffy white clouds and there are birds singing, unaware of the world of man. I get to feel the warm sun on my face and smell the leftover scent of a skunk that wandered thru here last night. It’s all transitory.
I’m like that skunk, just passing thru, experiencing the nuances of this physical world, but I am a spirit being–content to follow my heavenly GPS and experience the life it leads me to. I pray, “Father, help me to remember that the greatest joy is found in being content, content to walk in the Way.”