39. Earthly possessions
A question which very often arises is whether a man should part with his earthly possessions or disregard them altogether if he is striving for spiritual gain. It would be foolish to lay down such a principle! When it is said that a man should not cling to earthly possessions as he strives towards the Kingdom of Heaven, this does not mean that he should give or throw them away and live in poverty. Man may and should enjoy with pleasure what God provides for him through His Creation. “Do not cling” to earthly possessions only means that man should not allow himself to go so far as to make their accumulation the main purpose of his life on earth, thus “clinging” mainly to this one idea. Such an attitude is naturally bound to distract him from higher aims, for which he would have no time left. Indeed, with his whole being he would only cling to this one aim of acquiring earthly possessions. Be it for the sake of the possessions themselves, or for the sake of the pleasure they afford him, or for whatever other reasons, the result would always be fundamentally the same. Such a man clings and thereby binds himself to what is purely material, thus losing the ability to look upwards and ascend.
The erroneous conception that material possessions are incompatible with spiritually striving upwards is responsible for the absurd view held by the majority of people that any spiritual endeavor must never have anything in common with earthly possessions if it is to be taken seriously. The harm mankind have done themselves through this view has strangely enough never occurred to them.
As a result they devalue the spiritual, i.e. the highest gifts that they can receive. Because of this peculiar attitude all spiritual endeavors in the past had to depend on offerings and charity, just as beggars did. Thus the same attitude as was shown towards beggars also crept in, unnoticed, towards spiritual endeavors. These never could command the respect that, in reality, they are entitled to above all else. For the same reason these endeavors were always doomed to perish from the very beginning, because they could never stand firmly on their own feet, but always remained dependent upon the good will of men. In order to protect and to guard toward humanity that which is the very most sacred thing to him, namely the spiritual, one who is earnestly striving must not disdain earthly possessions! These must serve him mainly as a shield in the Gross material world, in order to ward off like with like. It would create an unhealthy condition if, in the age of materialists, those striving spiritually upwards should disdain the strongest weapon of their unscrupulous opponents! This would show a recklessness which could avenge itself grievously.
Therefore, all you true believers do not disdain worldly possessions, which also could only be produced through the Will of God, Whom you seek to honor! Do not however let the comfort of such earthly possessions lull you to sleep, but make sound use of them.
The same applies to the special gift of such powers as serve to heal various illnesses, or to similar beneficial abilities. In a most naive or, better said, most impudent manner people assume that such abilities should be made available to them free of charge, because they were given as a special gift from spiritual spheres to be used on earth. This even goes so far as some people expecting to be met with special expressions of joy when, in their great distress, they “condescend” to avail themselves of such help. People such as this must be barred from all assistance, even if this were the only way left to help them!
Those so gifted, however, should first learn to put a greater value on this gift of God themselves, so that they do not continually cast pearls before swine. To provide true help they need far more physical and ethereal power, as well as more time, than a lawyer needs for his best pleading, or a doctor for visiting many patients, or an artist for creating a picture. It would never occur to anybody to expect the lawyer, the doctor or the artist to do their work for free, although their intellectual ability, as every other talent, is but “a gift of God,” nothing else. Now, at last, cast off these beggar’s rags and don the garment that befits you.