Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet their Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin, and yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you?
O men of little faith! Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, what shall we eat, what shall we drink, what shall we wear. For the Gentiles seek all of these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
This is a challenging piece of Scripture. Do you want to get rich? Then youíre in the right place this morning. Iím sure youíve read it, youíve heard it, youíve pondered it. But what does Jesus really mean? The essential point is, donít first seek for money but seek for the Kingdom. But this world has brainwashed us the opposite way, hasnít it? In fact, what we believe is, seek first money, and then if weíve got any time left over maybe we can do something for the Kingdom, and if weíve got any money left over, maybe we can give something to the Kingdom, isnít that right? Weíre all friends here so we can be honest.
Recently several people came to me and they said, "I understand youíve been successful in business in the past, and Iíve heard some testimony that you were able to solve this financial puzzle, so maybe you can help me out." One person said, " I want to know how to find my best vocation." Most of us are like this. "How can I find the right job or the right business or the right pursuit, or the right multi-level." (Donít try those any more, please!) "The right business. The right job where we can make it. THEN I can get the money."
Weíre trying to find the ideal way to do that so that then, for those of us who are idealistic, we can find the way to do something, contribute more. If I can get the bills all paid, we can get a couple hundred bucks a month going into the college fund, then weíll be all set up and then we can really do something. Yes, we have a desire. But Jesus is actually saying the opposite Ė seek first the Kingdom and Godís righteousness, and then God will give you all of this.
Isnít that a pretty hard position to take? Itís easy to say, "thatís really beautiful, Jesus, itís very poetic. Itís just like a psalm, Jesusí Sermon on the Mount. Itís so wonderful that Iíve even cried. But Iíve GOT to pay the bills."
Should we not seek for these things? Should we not seek to pay the bills, should we not seek to put food on the table? Should we not seek to buy clothing for ourselves and our children? Should we not seek to have a car so we can get around to do things? Shall we just seek the Kingdom and to heck with the rest? Is that what Jesus is saying?
No. Heís saying simply, "seek FIRST the Kingdom and all these other things will be yours as well." He even says, "God knows that you need these things." God is God. Wouldnít he know I need those things? So first I have to orient myself, my life, my spirit, my soul, my heart, my family, my career, my vocation toward seeking first Godís Kingdom, and then God will be able to take care of me.
The trick that weíve allowed ourselves to buy into is that first weíve got to take care of all these other things and then Iíll go out and help God. Jesus is saying the opposite. Seek first to help God and then God will help you. So itís not that we shouldnít have any concern for those things, but if we orient ourselves right, God will click in.
In 1993 my family went back to my hometown, according to the call of God. We were going especially to follow a vision we had of being elected to public office under the work of ACC. But that was actually a calling. ACC didnít say, you should go to your hometown, and ACC didnít say, you should go out and get involved with election politics. That was just a calling that I felt, and I prayed and worked with my wife Loretta and our family, and we finally decided we would follow that calling.
We had a business in mind to help support that, but things were lined up. First, we were going for that reason, to fulfill the calling. And then we had a business. It was called Financial Fitness Center. It seemed like a great idea. Teach people good financial principles so that they could get out of debt and finally become successful financially. But there was just one problem with this business. People who are in debt donít have a lot of money to pay you to help them get out of debt! So this wasnít exactly a very profitable business that we had. In fact, we went into debt doing the business!
We went thousands of dollars in debt ourselves, and here we were in our hometown, moved all the way across the country after raising our family in the East and in the Midwest . We didnít have savings to speak of , so what were we going to do? Maybe some of you have been in that place that we were in.
My wife Loretta, God bless her, came up with a very practical idea. She said, we have to go tithe 10 percent first. I said, 10 percent of what? Shall we give minus $300? I followed that because I knew it was right. It was hard, it wasnít practical, but it was Jesusí teaching. It was seek first the kingdom. Make that commitment. So we began tithing 10 percent. If $100 came in, it was $10. Whatever it was, we did it. My testimony is that thatís the beginning point.
Now I donít want to get misunderstood. Just because I am involved with the church here, Iím not trying to bring in some extra cash. Iím really seriously and sincerely giving testimony and saying this for the sake of our families and their lives, not to bring in more cash. I donít just believe this. I know this is a spiritual principle. Itís not unique to Unificationism, by the way. It goes back to the chosen people in the wilderness, so itís been around a few years, this concept.
"Seek first the Kingdom Ė the FIRST way to do this is by giving 10 percent of what God gives us. So we went through this questioning process. Why are we here, why did God bring us to a little backwater town of Portland, Oregon? Well, first of all weíre Trial Messiahs. Second of all, we are a Blessed Family, and thirdly, we have a mission and that mission is to be involved and run for office.
So we lined up our priorities. First, fund Godís work. Secondly, fund Godís mission. Thirdly, fund our blessed family. So my testimony is that we need to get our priorities straight. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be yours as well. Jesus said it, I know it to be true. I donít just believe it. My testimony to the people that came and asked me, what should be my vocation, was essentially this: Whatís your mission? Whatís your calling?
Many people will say, "I work for X providential business, a great project like the Times." Great. Is that your mission? Or is it just a job? If itís just a job, OK. Jobs are good. But realize itís just a job. Collect a paycheck and find out what your calling is. Find out what your mission is. What does God want you to do to help building His kingdom? Maybe itís to make a lot of money and give a lot of money. There are people in our community that do that very quietly. Maybe itís to be involved in a lot of the projects out there for the providence. There are people doing that in our community.
Perhaps itís being really involved building up our church community, taking care of Sunday school, taking care of second generation, taking care of service, providing beautiful music. What is your calling? What is your mission? Your mission for God, for your life? When you leave the earth and go to heaven, what will be your legacy?
In another part of the Sermon on the Mount, just before our reading this morning, Jesus said, "do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
So where is your treasure? You canít bring your money and your mutual funds, and even what you leave to your children up to heaven. So what is the treasure that you will bring there? Itís going to be found in the mission that you accomplish for God. If itís in one of those providential companies, hallelujah! If it isnít, please find it.
I may be in trouble with some managers and leaders over on New York Avenue, but Iím going to say this anyway. If youíve got a problem with your situation in one of these companies or "missions," re-think it. Pray. If what youíre doing there is in conflict with your heart and your calling, ask God if you really should be there. Or check Ė "this is my mission, God wants me to be here, I need to overcome my bad feelings about it." But whatever it is, find out whatís your calling, whatís your mission, what does God want you to do.
I want to ask a question that I hope some of your arenít too bashful or afraid to venture your hand up. How many people here feel you know what your calling and mission are? Thatís about a third of the room. I just wonder, would one or two of you be willing to come up here and say a couple of words about what it is?
ANTONIO BETANCOURT: For many years weíve been dedicated to the work of peace. One important component of peace, of course, is the deliverance from sin, to make people aware, feel bad about sin, feel bad about the ways of Satan. That is the beginning of deliverance and that is the beginning of peace. But another important component of peace is economic justice. You cannot have peace, even for people of religion and people who have a problem with sin, if they live surrounded by injustice and institutional injustice in a system. So we have to change this and we have to do it in a God-centered way.
We are committed to economic justice, to the eradication of poverty around the world, beginning with the US. So we are very involved with technologies, both financial as well as legal, legislation, that will allow the majority of people who have no money, who have no income in savings Ė they may have a salary but they cannot participate as owners of the economy because they donít have any accumulation. That aspect is my calling, and itís in the fulfillment of Fatherís direction in 1992 that we have to work to overcome world poverty simultaneously with world sin.
MARY JOHNSON: I came back to Washington two years ago as my assignment from the State Department. But I realized in these two years the real reason why Iím here is that my blessing is an interracial blessing, and there are many others like that in this area. I realize that thereís deep healing that needs to take place still between black and white. Even though Iíve been blessed for almost 20 years, itís a long road. Iíve been involved in the reconciliation group, and I realized through that that it has to become substantial. As couples we need to reach out to each other and help each other substantially. Prayer is wonderful, but weíve really got to be there for each other.
By doing that Iím beginning to realize that if we just give totally and donít worry so much about how much time am I giving, then things just come. Thereís enough to eat, to wear, gas for the car, whatever. I also had this experience many times as a missionary, but itís coming again. What Rev. Schauffler is saying is absolutely true. If we totally give for Godís kingdom, we will not want.
KITTY WOJCIK: Iím one of those people who has no money. I have had a very interesting experience the last couple of years raising my own children since I had to stay home. Iíve made discoveries about what children really need. I feel God has called me to be a new voice in the wilderness for any of you who have problems with your children, who are worrying about them as they become teenagers.
I want to encourage you to be family-centered, not world-centered, so that you can actually win your child, keep your child safe from Satanís culture, which has designs on your child. I feel that God has called me to reach out to everyone.
REV. SCHAUFFLER: Thank you all for sharing.
I want to be very clear. I am not advocating not to seek after financial pursuits. In fact, I think itís dangerous to just seek after spiritual things and leave the financial to sort of come on its own. We have great theological discussions about that, and please feel free to have those with me after the service. I love to dialogue. I do believe we have to put in effort to lay a financial foundation. No question.
The point I want to make here this morning is, we need to FIRST decide what is our calling, and then put the pieces in place to set ourselves up to fulfill the calling.
Here are EIGHT STEPS TO ATTAINING TRUE PROSPERITY
First, tithe. Second, mission or calling. Third, blessed family. Fourth, other.
Thatís hard for us, but I believe that this in fact is a key component of putting the pieces together to be financially sound, connected to a mission. We have to have an active spiritual life. First, prayer, including prayer for the priorities. Pray for being able to tithe. Pray for our mission, for your success as a blessed family. Pray for the other things in our life like paying the bills, making our business successful, getting a raise, whatever. Nothing wrong with that, folks. In fact, I think itís really necessary. We have to pray and ask God to bless us financially, and specifically. But if thatís all weíre doing, thatís where the problem lies.
On the other hand, if weíre just praying for all the great providential pursuits and weíre not somehow asking God to bless us financially, weíre not going to be able to help much because weíre always going to be dealing with bills. Thatís why we need the priorities straight, and we need to pray for those priorities.
Now youíre all here at Sunday service. I hope the ideas here can get out to some of our brothers and sisters who arenít. What is the purpose of coming to Sunday service? Is it to get inspired? Well, with me as a pastor youíre out of luck because you may not get that. With different people giving service as we open it up to others in the community and other elders, you may have better luck. But what if you come and you donít get inspired? I would submit to you that the purpose of coming to Sunday service is not to come get inspired. The purpose of Sunday service is to make an offering once a week on the public altar of God Ė an offering of the mission that God has called me to do.
We donít have an altar for burnt offerings, but thatís the general idea. Weíre here to offer the fruits of our labor for our mission at Godís altar once a week. Now if you havenít really connected to your calling and you donít feel that you have a mission then itís harder to come to service and make that offering. Iím not trying to nail anybody, but thatís why a lot of us donít feel connected to service as a way of offering God our fruits. Thatís where service gains power. When Iím coming to give something to God on Sunday morning, then Sunday service is where I meet Him. If Iím coming to get a great sermon on Sunday morning, I may or may not receive something, depending on many factors. So consider this Ė the reason to come to Sunday service is to make my offering. Therefore, pledge, hoon dok hae and Sunday service are crucial part of an active spiritual life.
This is not your vocation, career or job. It could be your hobby. It would be nice if it is. Your job or career could be a part of your calling. It just depends. I have some good friends who are professionals in education, media, or whatever, and that is their calling. To me those are blessed people. But I know they also went through a considerable amount to get to the point where pursuing their mission and calling has also been able to provide them a financial base. But thatís where it starts. You need to determine what that is.
In order to discover your calling or mission, which is not your vocation, career or job, how can God use your unique talents, abilities, and circumstances to help build the kingdom? This is seeking first the kingdom, discovering your calling and mission. Some people amongst us are used to being told what that is by an individual. I believe in the past I was told by God through an individual, but I always felt God was giving me a mission.
In middle age you may not be finding out what that is through an individual, and hopefully you can go through some prayer, some study. Weíre going to have workshops after Godís Day next year in terms of helping us find out what that calling is. But still itís going to somehow come through a process. It may not just be somebody telling you, this is your mission to go to New Mexico and set up such and such. Itís going to be subtler and deeper. But start by looking at your talents, abilities and circumstances, and asking God, how can you use me and my talents to help build your kingdom?
Iíve already said plenty about this Ė Letís just DO IT!
Itís not enough to find a calling and pray about it and then go to work and work overtime and be tired and watch the 11 oíclock news and go to sleep. I have to pursue the mission, to do something. In fact, I have to orient my whole life to accomplishing the mission. Then if I have a job or business, the whole purpose of it should be to assist me in accomplishing that mission.
Consider how you can have a business or job that will assist or complement your mission. The people that gave testimony here are actually doing that and there are a number of people here that have tuned into a calling and mission and pursuit that directly ties into it. Even if it doesnít, if you have a mission to teach children but youíre an executive secretary from 9 to 5, thatís great. All day long youíre thinking, my mission is to teach children.
I was in Portland, Oregon running for public office, and it was a seven-year course. We didnít win, as you all know. Thatís another story. But during that time it was very clear to me that thatís what I was there for. Every day I had a business selling human resource services. That doesnít have a lot to do with my mission before God, or building the kingdom. But I used it to be. I joined the Chamber of Commerce, I joined the Rotary Club, I made friends with a lot of small business owners. All of that became a foundation to run for public office because being a 25-year veteran of Rev Moonís movement is not exactly a great political resume. So I needed to create one. I used that whole foundation, although it was just a job, a paycheck. The idea is to put it together.
Integration and balance. Itís all integrated, so Iím seeking first the kingdom, even though Iím pursuing a business or a job.
Gratitude is the key. Iíve found that resentment is a spirit-killer. Resentment is a killer of God within me. The only way to meet God, at least for me, is to find gratitude. And when I find gratitude, God just kind of rushes in. Thatís the last step.
Who is the one person you might know who has done exactly what we just talked about more powerfully than anybody else you know? True Parents. Now are we trying to follow them as a model of some kind? Do you think Fatherís concerned with, how am I going to pay the bills? Was he thinking about that on a mountainside in Pusan with zero money? Well, he did work with Won Pil Kim to paint portraits that American GIís commissioned. Did he really think that was all they were concerned with? I donít think so.
If you want a model of these eight steps weíve gone over, just ponder on True Parentsí life. To the amazement of people throughout the world, they have mobilized unbelievable financial resources. Now some people say, that was based on the hard work on a great number of brothers and sisters, particularly in Japan. Nevertheless, there was a vision there that True Parents were able to impart. We probably all participated in mobilizing those resources. So I would submit to you that the perfect example of accomplishing these eight steps is our True Parents themselves.
To conclude, letís look at:
EIGHT TYPES OF WEALTH (PERSONAL POSESSIONS)
Iíd like to refer you to a book called Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. Itís a classic, a very Christian man who studied the great successful people of the first half of this century and wrote down what their secrets were, and it was all this kind of thing. That book was not about making money per-se. He lists eight types of wealth:
Wisdom is a term thrown around a lot, but I learned a good definition of wisdom recently. Wisdom is the ability to take truth and practically apply it to daily living. Otherwise truth is simply inspiring ideas. Wisdom applies the truth to our life.
Do you have friends? If you want to have friends, youíre going to have to go find them. Theyíre not going to find you. Make friendships. Do they have to be Unificationists? If theyíre not, guess what? You can help them become Unificationists. Thatís called natural evangelism. Those true friendships youíll take with you. Youíre not going to take the bank accounts and the mutual funds, but you will take true friendships.
Truly a great wealth of life.
Note that this is simply the last of eight types of wealth. Itís only one, and the only one there that you cannot take with you. It may assist you in attaining some of the others. It certainly will assist you in building Godís kingdom and His righteousness.
Brothers and sisters, let us seek first Godís kingdom and His righteousness and all these other eight things will be ours as well. Let us pray.