By Geraldo Goulart
“Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses (…) for the workman is worthy of his meat.” — Jesus (Matthew, 10:9).
Mistaken in their illusion that winning more money, in addition to solving their precarious financial situation, would enable them to do something for themselves, countless people feed their weekly gambling addiction.
The bettors do not understand – usually they are simple people – who are compromising their meager resources in the cultivation of what eventually becomes a desperate hope of obtaining extra income, pursuing at all costs the realization of far-fetched dreams such as: travel around the world; acquisition of new cars and cloths; mansions and even performing aesthetic surgeries, believing that with a new look they would be happier, combining happiness and money under the argument that money is not problem but solution.
It is with the utmost sorrow that we observe such occurrences, because we know luxurious residences and beautiful palaces, contain terrible moral evils and psychic disturbances, whose occupants would not hesitate to exchange their properties for an even grander abode. It is an illusion for anyone who thinks there is full contentment, any real lasting joy, tied to financial achievements.
We are not questioning the value of money. After all, it is sometimes mentioned in the Roadmap of Conduct that makes up the great legacy of the Exalted Master. However, if such a reference occurs, it is always to show a behavior that must be made in which we are called to witness against covetousness and avarice (1) or in favor of obedience to the constituted authorities(2) with the due contribution to the tax burden imposed to preserve public administration.
Even today we find companions on this earthly journey desirous of giving to God the same we give to Caesar – money, frivolities, worldliness. They should be better conditioned to surrender to God what belongs to Him and is in us: love of neighbor according to the second commandment (3). Confused, many of us failed to record the representativeness of the two small coins of which the widow’s mite symbol was composed (4). The offering of Love may well be the two-minute donation of attention to the stranger who solicits us, when they are distressed, we should help through outstretched hands. Let us remember Simon Peter when he passed through the Formosa Gate in the Temple of Jerusalem, when he was called by the lame man who begged for alms, then Peter said: “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (5), what did the Apostle give? Love, only Love that represented a hug in the name of Jesus Christ, and that was more than enough to satisfy the neediness of the beggar.
In in order to imitate the widow’s gesture it is necessary that we truly want to SERVE. In addition, to repeat the deed of Peter, we require the ability to LOVE. A great mistake is made by those who relate the condition of serving and the fulfillment of charity to the possession of money. How much can we help even when we do not have material support with us? We know from several examples, let us mention one: so many times Dr. Bezerra de Menezes emptied his wallet, and since not having his graduation’s ring, because he had given it to someone to convert it into money to pay for a burial, and the purchase of provisions, he saw himself one day with no other choice but to bestow an EMBRACE to another person in need who sought his help. But he did so with so much Love and Faith that his embrace, granted in the name of the Blessed Virgin as he said, transferred such formidable energy that it performed wonders, and so the person in need received the resources she was asking for.(6)
The difficulties we often parade in the justification for “not doing” seem to be the residue of the impassivity that, indeed, must have been left to us by the undecided young man who pleaded for eternal life, but remained pensive with the invitation that Jesus gave him (7). In fact, to accomplish the Commandments will not be such an arduous task; but GIVING what we have in exchange for a treasure in Heaven does not seem to us to be a very profitable thing, does it? Therefore, we generally go on a path different from that which the Master treads.
The Spiritist Doctrine has helped us enough in clarifying the necessary reordering of our acts. Embedded in the panoply of Kardec-inspired guidelines – always for our benefit, let us emphasize – lies the chapter on Choice of Trials (8). Moreover, if our life plan includes the struggle for survival with little monetary resources – but always sufficient for the maintenance of our existence, however small – why obsess over obtaining? This is also a facet of “bad suffer” (9).
We are deluded when we believe we justify our gambling addiction for the purpose of building shelters, buying clothes and food for the protection of our needy brothers. This is not how Mercy works because it never leads us to the contemplative life. Those who work, as the Lord assured the Disciples deserve their sustenance. Which sustenance did the Lord refer to: bread for the body? Certainly not only this, but also, and especially, to the bread for the spirit, that can be located in the hopes deposited in the result of serving. This overcoming, as a manna that materializes by the arrival of valiant workers, by overcoming harsh difficulties, represents support from Highest Heaven and is related to our ability to receive such blessings. After all, who promised easy ways? Where is the reward in the Gospels without laborious construction?
Jesus, the Maximum Exemplifier, had nowhere for resting His head (10). Thus, we do not understand the reason for such an unbridled gold rush when the true treasure (11), the incorruptible, requires persevering patience and extreme dedication in its attainment.
Knowing how to multiply the talents (12), let us agree to this, is much better than winning the lottery!
- Luke 12:13-21
- Matthew 22:15-22
- Matthew 22:34-40
- Luke 21:1-4
- Acts 3:6
- Lindos Casos de Bezerra de Menezes – Prof. Ramiro Gama – Editora Lake
- Matthew 19:16-24
- The Spirits’ Book, questions from 258 to 273 e The Gospel According to Spiritism, 16:7-8
- The Gospel According to Spiritism, 5:18
- Luke 9:58
- Matthew 6:19-21
- Matthew 25:14-30
(*) Originally published in REFORMADOR (monthly magazine issued by Federação Espírita Brasileira) in April, 1985