Unconditional Spiritual Service
In many circles today, spiritual service has become big business. It’s promoted and advertised with the best of Madison Avenue techniques. Most think it has to be that way, but I believe there’s a more excellent way. And that that way will bring more happiness and more abundance than the world’s way of doing business.
This article wasn’t written to condemn anyone’s practice. Everybody gets to do life just as they wish. It’s simply another view, another possibility, even in our modern, materialistic world. So please keep reading to see how it could work.
I’ve felt for years that spiritual services should be made available freely, on a free-will offering basis, if desired, rather than on a fee basis. Unconditional love is my justification for that idea. In my opinion, any spiritual work offered solely on a fee basis is conditional love–love given “on the condition” of payment of a fee; no fee, no love. To me, that simply isn’t “love”; that’s “business”. It can still be helpful, but it’s limited.
I believe spiritual people can get out of “business” and into “service”, and prosper abundantly, by demonstrating the principles they would teach. This idea isn’t new. It’s been practiced throughout the ages, until recent times, and was taught by Jesus. I believe it’s time for at least some people to adopt it again. And I’m practicing what I preach. I invite you to at least consider the possibility for yourself, if applicable.
A Better Way
I believe there’s a better way. But you can’t experience it until you’re willing to try it. That better way is for spiritual people to put their trust totally in Spirit, not in other people, and then start living and loving unconditionally, by sharing themselves unconditionally, proving their understanding that Spirit always gives us what we genuinely expect. And we can expect our needs to be met.
I believe we’re going to grow and benefit whenever we share our truth, whether or not we get paid for it right then and there. Spirit has many ways to compensate us, if we don’t close the door to those other ways by insisting that our good has to come only through our appointed means and at our appointed time. This is “earth-mind” thinking, the way that unenlightened, civilized people have done it for eons. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If spiritually awake people live like spiritually unawake people, what have we to offer them? We’ve got to live a better way. These words are written in love, from a place of personal practice, in the hope that more people will realize how they’re limiting themselves and others by insisting on business as usual instead of giving themselves freely and using spiritual principles to attract whatever they need.
In viewing the life of Jesus, I just can’t reconcile the idea of charging for spiritual service with the idea of unconditional love. I can’t imagine Jesus, who said “whosoever will may come,” going about promoting how much he could do for others and then simply turning them away if they couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for his services. I can’t imagine him telling someone how much he could help them with their problem, and then telling them something like, “That’ll be $100, up front, of course!”
I’ve often felt that some of our spiritual centers seem more like “the temple with the money changers” than they do like spiritual centers dedicated to the service of mankind. Any way you cut it, fees close doors to would-be seekers and create a barrier based on ability to pay.
I believe everybody should have access to spiritual truths, especially in these times of tremendous change. I can’t imagine Jesus closing the door to anyone if they couldn’t pay him a fee. Yet neither did he deny them the opportunity to give to spiritual work. He greatly honored the widow who, in giving her tiny “mite” offering, gave more, out of her need, than the others gave out of their abundance. Freely we have received and freely we should give.
How It’s Often Done Today
Many spiritual workers today seem to concoct courses, services, or products like secular workers concoct their services or products–specifically to make a profit, not to teach somebody something or simply to help them in some way. Is that love? Their primary reason for teaching a class or offering a service or product isn’t to help people; it’s to make a profit. And the proof of that is the simple fact that if the primary reason were to help people, they’d be helping people, whether or not those people could pay them, then or later. And they’d be trusting Spirit to provide for their needs, from wherever, whenever, instead of trusting only those people to provide for them.
People do get taught and people do get helped otherwise, but the major thrust is “making the rent” or whatever. And that isn’t putting God first. I believe there is another and a better way. And I acknowledge that one may have to work his or her way into it gradually, as they become willing to allow their beliefs to change. But it can be done, and it’s worth the effort!
We can learn to trust Spirit and to live our lives out of the joy of that trusting. It’s a whole new dimension of living freely and joyously. But it takes courage to do it. And we can do it!
Justifications for “Business as Usual”
I’ve heard all the justifications people use for charging fees for their spiritual service, and they’re very spiritual-sounding. But it all boils down to one thing–we believe our needs won’t be met unless we control the matter by charging what we consider a reasonable fee for our service. I honor one’s right to believe that, and I don’t condemn one for choosing it. But I believe we’re short-changing ourselves by believing that, and also those we might serve, as well. To me, that belief is a conviction that Spirit either can’t or won’t supply our needs, so we’re going to take matters into our own hands, to make sure it gets done. And that is definitely not spiritual thinking. That’s earth-mind thinking. And there is another way.
That belief also indicates that we will only receive our sustenance from those we serve, which is simply applying business strategy instead of spiritual philosophy. And, we believe those served won’t give us enough, by free-will offering, so we must charge, to be sure we get paid enough. And we get what we expect.
Spirit always honors our expectations by giving them to us! We think that in setting a fixed fee, we’re putting a sure foundation under ourselves, for all who come will pay that amount. But we forget that those who have that amount and come, won’t pay a dime more than required! So, by putting a foundation under ourselves, we’ve also put a ceiling over ourselves. And, those who don’t have that amount, won’t come and pay anything, whereas they might have come and contributed something otherwise. So they miss an opportunity to learn and grow. And who knows how much good their influence might have done? More importantly, by setting a fee, if people don’t come because of the fee, we don’t get to share our message. And we feel disappointed and unfulfilled.
Thinking differently, we might otherwise have shared ourselves with an eager audience and have walked away rejoicing at the joy we brought to others, and to ourselves, in the sharing. This, in my opinion, is the greatest blind spot of all. We’d rather not share our truth than to share it freely! Is that love?
People also justify a business approach to spiritual work by saying that anything offered for free isn’t valued. Yet the most valuable things in life are “free,” and we’re all able to appreciate their value. To me, that’s only a justification, not the truth of the matter. They also say that there must be an “exchange of energy.” And energy, in this case, they always define as money.
I believe we must begin living the truth, no matter what, and not just teaching others to do it. We’ve got to start being honest with ourselves, if we’d be honest with others.
I believe this planet will see a dramatic increase in goodness when spiritual teachers become willing to share their truth instead of insisting on selling their truth, to live spiritually instead of materially. And such teachers will experience a dramatic increase in their own spiritual awareness and in their abundance, by lovingly and unselfishly sharing themselves. It couldn’t be otherwise.
Charles David Heineke, 1996 Spread the word. Please copy freely.