This experiment began several years ago when I received a brochure in the mail advertising silver bullion coins as an investment vehicle. The “hook” was, “We will sell you two silver eagles for the price of one, if you agree to read our special report on silver.” When I saw this, I thought, “I could give one of these coins to a friend who was having money problems as a touch point for her prayers.” I sent her a coin and a notebook with instructions. Every day we prayed that the Lord would grant her wisdom in the area of finance. Every day she made an entry in her notebook.
The initial experiment was extremely successful. At the end of six months, her attitude towards money was radically different. She began to systematically eliminate her consumer debt. She changed some behaviors that were sabotaging her financial situation. Then towards the end of the six month experiment, she was able to move into her own home for the first time in her life.
Finally, when the participants are ready, they will give their coin with a blank notebook to a friend or a family member who is ready to change their relationship with money. In this way, friendship and blessings will keep flowing forward forever, even into eternity.
This morning I was waiting in the drive through line at McDonald’s to get my breakfast sandwich, cost $3.78. When I went to pay, the girl at the window told me the woman in the van in front of me paid for my sandwich. I tried to pay for the order from the car behind me. It cost $9.78. I only had $7.00 in my billfold. So the guy behind me got a $7.00 discount on his order.
I wonder where that little chain of blessings will end.
At the time I was listening to the last half of an old Joel Osteen sermon on my car radio, #469 Freedom from Competition, if you are interested. What Joel was teaching is called Mudita or Sympathetic Joy by the Buddhists. They consider it one of the four sublime or heavenly abodes. When you are experiencing pleasure as you witness the success and happiness of another, you are in heaven. The opposite of Mudita is envy or schadenfreude, taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. When we experience envy, one of the seven deadly sins, or take pleasure in the sufferings of others it must be a foretaste of Hell.
The sages consider Mudita the most difficult of the four immeasurables to practice. Maybe the sages are wrong. Through a simple random act of generosity, the woman in front of me in line was experiencing sympathetic joy and giving others to opportunity to join her in a heavenly place.
Jesus paid the price so that I, a man condemned to death, might live and experience joy in heavenly places.
What are the implications of this model for His followers?