Companies spend billions of dollars in marketing annually . . . making sure you believe that you must do the same. There are ads everywhere you go encouraging you to spend, spend, spend. Most of these ads don’t even tell the truth about their product and your safety. Other ads give too much information about their product. They tell you in advance that their product might cause death. Yet, we still spend, spend, spend. “Saving” does not seem to matter in today’s global economy. People shop and buy based on available money to them. Some people live above their means, thinking all is well. Other folks live below their means wondering where the next dollar will come. But wealth is in the character of the person not in the material possessions owned.
In 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at The Bowery Mission, a rescue mission in New York to about 500 poor homeless men and said the following words:
You must be thankful to God that you are poor, for Jesus Christ has said, “Blessed are the poor.” He never said, “Blessed are the rich.” He said, too, that the Kingdom is for the poor and that it is easier for a camel to enter a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom.
Therefore, you must be thankful to God that although in this world you are indigent, yet the treasures of God are within your reach; and although in the material realm you are poor, yet in the Kingdom of God you are precious. Jesus Himself was poor. He did not belong to the rich. He passed His time in the desert, traveling among the poor, and lived upon the herbs of the field. He had no place to lay His head, no home. He was exposed in the open to heat, cold and frost—to inclement weather of all kinds—yet He chose this rather than riches.
This earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone.
God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of God and His throne.
Jesus was a poor man. One night when He was out in the fields, the rain began to fall. He had no place to go for shelter so He lifted His eyes toward heaven, saying, “O Father! For the birds of the air Thou hast created nests, for the sheep a fold, for the animals dens, for the fish places of refuge, but for Me Thou hast provided no shelter. There is no place where I may lay My head. My bed consists of the cold ground; My lamps at night are the stars, and My food is the grass of the field. Yet who upon earth is richer than I?
The steps below were suggested to a believer as a method of finding a solution to problems using prayer.
Step 1: Pray and meditate about it. Then remain in the silence of contemplation for a few minutes.
Step 2: Arrive at a decision and hold it. This decision is usually born during contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishing, but if it seems to be the answer to a prayer or a way of solving the problem . . . then immediately take the next step.
Step 3: Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here! The process of the decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.
Step 4: Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you. The right way will appear, the right door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle, or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to your need. Then as you rise from prayer, take at once the fifth step.
Step 5: Act as though it has all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And as you act, you, yourself, will become a magnet, which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine power to flow through you.
Many pray but do not remain for the last half of the first step. Some who meditate arrive at a decision, but fail to hold it (step 2). Few have the determination to carry the decision through (step 3), still fewer have the confidence that the right thing will come to their need (step 4).
But how many remember to act as though it had all been answered (step 5)? How true are these words, “Greater than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered.” “And greater than the way it is uttered is the spirit in which it is carried out.”