Rosicrucian Writings Online

"Seek Ye First the Kingdom"
[H. Spencer Lewis]

[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1930]
I AM not going to preach a sermon--far from it--but I am going to start my talk with a text. The text is this: "Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you."
I am not going to do as the good preacher folk do and analyze each and every word of this text until the 12:30 tick of the clock and then call it a preachment and close the service. But I am going to call your attention to a few significant thoughts that are incorporated in this wonderful injunction.
The words really give us a command and a promise in typical Rosicrucian manner. Our members will probably realize that wherever a command or a law is given to the student of our work, that a promise of certain fulfillment is always added to the command. It is this principle in our work, always made manifest in actual demonstrations, that proves the practicability of the Rosicrucian work. In the above injunction we have the command, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God!" This is followed by the promise that all things will be given to us. In fact, it says that all things will be added. I think that we can properly devote a few minutes to analyzing the promise.
The promise seems to be an additional blessing that will come naturally after having sought the kingdom of God. In other words, seeking the kingdom of God has its own blessings and rewards as an inherent part of the principles and procedure. But we are told that having sought the kingdom of God, certain other things will be added to our blessings. It is the nature of these other things that will interest a great many of our members.
We may think that because of our continuous cry for material things, such as wealth, health, the enjoyment of peace, happiness, liberty, and the necessities of life, that the average man and woman of today are but little interested in the spiritual things of life. If this is true of the human race today, it must have been true in the time when the above injunction was so forcibly stated to the multitudes.
The mere fact that people were taught to first seek the kingdom of God intimates that they were leaving this great blessing out of their consideration or were making it secondary in all of their seeking. Certainly, Jesus was not unaware of the necessities of life, and did not mean to imply that we should have no thoughts about our requirements for food, or the health of our body, or the safety of our personal position, nor did He believe that it was wrong to desire to have a comfortable or safe home and enjoy the necessary and wholesome luxuries of life. His statement to several individuals that unless they gave up their wealth, they could not follow Him or enter the kingdom of Heaven was not meant to be a general rule for all mankind, nor did it imply that all material things which we possess constituted a detriment to our spiritual advancement.
In the one outstanding event where He instructed the individual to give up his wealth, He was talking to one who was in possession of great wealth and who gave his devotion to the accumulation of wealth and made it his god. He directed His words principally to this individual who laughed at the teachings of spirituality and who boasted of the fact that with his great wealth, he could buy anything or secure anything in the world that he needed. Saying to such a man that until he gave up his wealth, he could not enter the kingdom of Heaven had an entirely different meaning than would have been indicated if such words had been spoken to a person of moderate circumstances.
It is a fact, however, that is neither religious nor sectarian, that unless a person seeks first of all the blessings and grace of the spiritual life, the other things of life cannot be obtained through the laws of universal adjustment. There are only two ways, after all, whereby the material things of life can be secured. They must be either earned, deserved, or else they must be wrongly obtained through theft, deceit, error, or evil. This applies not only to money in coinage, but to property, to clothing, home, food, physical protection, health, happiness, contentment, and peace.
There are certain laws or processes which govern the attainment of these material things by whichever method we use. If we use the right method and earn or deserve the things we need, we can use the processes of labor, legitimate purchase, unselfish service, appeal to the Cosmic, prayer to God, or the application of certain metaphysical principles. No matter which one of these processes we use, we can expect results only if we have earned and deserved what we are seeking. On the other hand, if we are trying to secure wrongly what we have not earned or deserved, we have the processes of theft, deceit, appropriation, misrepresentation, cunning, and other means. From the Cosmic point of view, it makes very little difference what processes we use, for if we are attempting to secure what we have not earned or deserved, we are violating a fundamental law, even though our processes may come within the so-called man-made laws. We often hear it said by those who defended the peculiar or unethical processes they have used to secure certain material things in life, that what they have done has been "within the law". They may carefully and cleverly evade the limitations or restrictions of man-made laws, and thereby defeat them, but there is no way whereby you can evade the Cosmic laws, and if you use any method "within the law" of the Cosmic, you must use one which is legitimate, honest, clean, and proper.
Therefore, we will concern ourselves with the processes whereby man may obtain the material things of life in the only legitimate way that the Cosmic recognizes. This legitimate way is through earning and deserving what he needs, regardless of whether his needs are actual necessities or even luxuries, for it is possible for one to earn and deserve even the luxuries of life and to have these given as a blessing from the kingdom of Heaven.
To earn and deserve the things of life, however, is not so simple as it seems. Of course, there are those in this world who are like parasites and who walk the highways proclaiming that "life owes them a living", and that the community at large must support them inasmuch as they did not ask for an existence here on earth, but since they are here, God and mankind must feed and clothe them. It is useless to argue with these persons or to discuss their contentions. It is not until man comes to realize that life owes him nothing, but that he owes everything to life, that any human being is ready to take the first step in the right direction.
The gift of life itself and of consciousness constitutes the greatest blessing that God and the Cosmic can bestow upon a human being, and the possession of these things makes every human being under obligations to God and mankind. It is an eternal debt which can be paid only by the manner of our living. Therefore, instead of life owing anyone anything, we are never clear of the great debt that we owe to the universe.
If we wish any other blessings in addition to those of life and consciousness, such as continued health, protection against disaster and disease, ill fortune and poverty, worry, and strife, we are seeking for those things which will place us under greater obligation than that of our Divine birthright. God has probably given man the faculties, the creative power, and the talents with which and whereby he can create and accumulate through his own efforts the things that he actually needs. By obtaining them through his efforts, he earns them. If he seeks for and desires those things which he cannot create or produce through his own efforts, he must earn them and deserve them in some other way.
Seeking the blessings of life by earning them and deserving them requires that, first of all, man should attune himself with the spiritual principles of life and place himself in a reciprocal position. Whether we look upon God as a personal dispenser of the blessings of life or look upon the Cosmic as an impersonal Divine Mind regulating the affairs of life, we must realize that it is only by placing ourselves in the good graces of God or the Cosmic that we can expect either one or both of them to grant our wishes. From the spiritual or Divine point of view, God and the Cosmic expect us to place the spiritual needs of life above the material things.
It is a fallacy to think that only on Sunday or in our religious periods of meditation we should acclaim the real part of man as being spiritual, or the real part of our existence as being a spiritual existence, and then on the other days of the week place the material things of life above the spiritual. God and the Cosmic look upon man as a spiritual being. His physical body and worldly expressions and interests are purely temporal and transitory. Man's material requirements of today are of no importance tomorrow, and the material things of yesterday, which seemed to constitute the dominant requirements of life, are looked upon as nothing at the present time.
Only life, itself, and the consciousness within our body can be considered as the real and everlasting requirement of our existence. We should not be surprised then that God and the Cosmic place all of our material necessities in a secondary classification. They are not primary in any sense nor really essential to our continued spiritual existence. If we had to separate our material existence from the spiritual one, we find that we have the reality on one hand, and only the shadow on the other. Without fostering and developing the reality, the shadow would soon pass out of existence.
Man's great requirement, therefore, is to build up, develop, and mature the spiritual part of himself. Until he has made that part of his being pure and as nearly perfect as it is possible for him to do, he has neither right nor privilege to demand or seek for material blessings, or material possessions. This is what is implied in the command, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God!" If this is the paramount desire and ambition in the life of any human being, it means that all other things will take a secondary place and will be left to the fulfillment of the law, as promised in the latter half of the injunction. Seeking first the kingdom of God and raising one's self to attunement with the spiritual powers and principles of the universe will bring in its wake and as a rich reward all the other necessities which will be added to the blessings of the spiritual life.
I call attention again to the fact that seeking the kingdom of God brings its own inherent rewards and blessings. If I could only make my Brothers and Sisters realize that, after all, there is nothing so inspiring, so filled with peace, happiness, perfect health, joy, and contentment as the development of the spiritual nature, I will have accomplished a great good for each of them. As we lift up our hearts and attune ourselves more closely with God and the Cosmic principles, we find our health becoming more nearly perfect, for there will be a greater influx of the creative principle and of the power to heal. There will also be an influx of happiness and delightful inspiration that will supplant our human desires for earthly pleasures and tinseled things of a material life.
It is not strange and it is not uncommon that those who have found grace with God and attunement with the spiritual kingdom have discovered that many hundreds of material things, which they thought they needed and which seemed to be actual necessities in order to enjoy life, have slipped into past memory as childish whims and fancies and are now of no practical need whatsoever. There is no earthly pleasure that can possibly take the place of spiritual joy. There is no earthly music made by the hands of man that can equal the celestial music of the Cosmic or the songs of the angels' voices. There is no art of an earthly nature that can take the place of the sublime and transcendental beauties clearly seen in periods of Cosmic attunement. There is no physical rest or comfort, no material contentment of mind, or ease of mentality and art that can equal the controlling and soul-inspiring peace that comes through Cosmic attunement. There is no food that will nourish the body, no drink that will quench the thirst like the Divine waves of spiritual radiations that pour into the human body in the rush of spiritual meditation. There is nothing that will clothe and adorn the human form and make it so attractive and so admired among men as the majestic aura radiating from a spiritually infused being.
Until each of us has learned to have these blessings and has enjoyed them and realized them to their fullest extent, we are incapable of judging what we really need in life. Man may think that he needs more food or a better home, or better clothing, or more money, or relief from some physical condition, and these beliefs may constitute the great desires and dominating wishes of his life, but he is incapable of judging until he has enjoyed the fullness of spiritual life. Therefore, until man first seeks the kingdom of God, he is not ready to know what he needs nor prepared to receive the things that may be added unto the Cosmic blessings of the spiritual life.
And, most certainly, not until man is in attunement with the spiritual kingdom and is giving of his heart and mind the full devotion and adoration that rightfully belong to the Cosmic, is he entitled to ask the Cosmic for its further blessings, which will be added to what he has and which constitute the secondary material things of life. The serf could not go before the lord of his domain, and the subject cannot stand before his king, and ask that the additional blessings of life be given to him unless he has made manifest in all of his thinking and doing a loyalty and devotion to his superior that proves his worthiness to receive what he asks for. Man cannot approach the Cosmic nor enter upon the Path, nor go into the silence, or sit in meditation seeking the greater things of the material world, until he has earned them and deserved them by giving of himself that loyalty, that devotion, that cooperation which he must give to enter the kingdom of God.
Let this be a command and a promise unto you and let it be the controlling law in your life: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."

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