Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

September 18, 2010

Devotional Program: Creating Material Balance

This devotional program was presented at the Bahá'í House of Worship on September 5, 2010. Before going upstairs into the temple, I joked to my friend that I wanted to go downstairs to the bookstore, to be material before being spiritual. The architecture is inspiring enough, but the devotions and music were, well, heavenly :-).

Lord! Pitiful are we, grant us thy favor; poor, bestow upon us a share from the ocean of Thy wealth; needy, do Thou satisfy us; abased, give us Thy glory. the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field receive their meat each day from Thee, and all beings partake of Thy care and loving-kindness.

Deprive not this feeble one of Thy wondrous grace and vouchsafe by Thy might unto this helpless soul Thy bounty.

Give us our daily bread, and grant Thin increase in the necessities of life, that we may be dependent on none other but Thee, may commune wholly with Thee, may walk in Thy ways and declare Thy mysteries. Thou art the Almighty and the Loving and the Provider of all mankind.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í Prayers, p 22.

Meditations for days of plenty

Should a man wish to adorn himself with the ornaments of the earth, to wear its apparels, or partake of the benefits it can bestow, no harm can befall him, if he alloweth nothing whatever to intervene between him and God, for God hath ordained every good thing, whether created in the heavens or in the earth, for such of His servants as truly believe in Him. Eat ye, O people, of the good things which God hath allowed you, and deprive not yourselves from His wondrous bounties. Render thanks and praise unto Him, and be of them that are truly thankful.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p 276

... It is good and comely for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.

The Torah, Kesuvim, Koheles (Ecclesiastes) 5:18-19

Blessed is the rich man whom earthly possessions have been powerless to hinder turning unto God, the Lord of all names. Verily he is accounted among the most distinguished of men before God, the Gracious, the All-knowing.

Bahá'u'lláh: Compilation on Huqúqu'lláh, p. 4

Inspirations for times of financial struggle

Say: I swear by God! No one is despised in the sight of the Almighty for being poor. Rather is he exalted, if he is fond to be of them who are patient. Blessed are the poor that are steadfast in patience...

Bahá'u'lláh: Compilation on Huqúqu'lláh, p. 4

And he lifted us his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled... Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven...

The Bible, Luke 2-23

Great is the blessedness awaiting the poor that endure patiently and conceal their sufferings, and well is it with the rich who bestow their riches on the needy and prefer them before themselves.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p 202

Please God, the poor may exert themselves and strive to earn the means of livelihood. This is a duty which, in this most great Revelation, hath been prescribed unto every one, and is accounted in the sight of God as a goodly deed. Whoso observeth this duty, the help of the invisible One shall most certainly aid him. He can enrich, through his grace, whomsoever He pleaseth.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p 202

Verses for all times

... man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty. Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples.

Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p 35

All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as a result of your own volition.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p 149

O SON OF MAN!

Should prosperity befall thee, rejoice not, and should abasement come upon thee, grieve not, for both shall pass away and be no more.

Bahá'u'lláh: The Arabic Hidden Words, #52

Health is the supreme possession. Contentment is the supreme wealth. A trustworthy friend is the supreme relation.

Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha I, s. 14

It is God who created you and then provided for you; and then will make you die, and then will quicken you again; is there any of your partners who can do aught o f that? Celebrated be His praises, and exalted be He above what they associate with Him!

The Qur'an, 30:1

We have enjoined upon all to become engaged in some trade or profession, and have accounted such occupation to be an act of worship. Before all else, however, thou shouldst receive, as a sign of God's acceptance, the mantle of trustworthiness from the hands of divine favour; for trustworthiness is the chief means of attracting confirmation and prosperity. We entreat God to make of it a radiant and mercifully showering rain-cloud that shall bring success and blessings to thy affairs. He of a truth is the All-bountiful, the Gracious.

Bahá'u'lláh: The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p 335

O my God! I ask Thee, by Thy most glorious Name, to aid me in that which will cause the affairs of Thy servants to prosper, and Thy cities to flourish. thou, indeed, hast power over all Things!

Bahá'u'lláh: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p 61

O Lord! Unto Thee I repair for refuge, and toward all Thy signs I set my heart.

O Lord! Whether traveling or at home, and in my occupation or in my work, I place my whole trust in  Thee.

Grant me then Thy sufficing help so as to make me independent of all things, O Thou Who art unsurpassed in Thy mercy!

Bestow upon me my portion, O Lord, as thou pleasest, and cause me to be satisfied with whatsoever Thou hast ordained for me.

The Báb: Bahá'í Prayers, p 56.