Miracles News

July-September, 2018

Relying On Spirit

by Rev. Michael Graves, O.M.C.

Michael GravesMost people who know me well know these two things about me. One that I am a minister and two that I love to fish.

I retired almost six years ago, and recently I had been having the recurring and persistent thought of buying a boat. I have a few friends that have one and it is always a great experience to go with them whether we catch anything or not.

I struggled with the usual thoughts when considering such a purchase, but as I went to Holy Spirit with my concerns I heard very clearly, “What is it for?”

As a student of A Course in Miracles, I am familiar with this principal as it is mentioned more than a few times in the book. I was very pleased to receive this guidance from Spirit.

As I was pondering the question it became very clear to me that while I love just to be on the water and to fish, the boat would provide many opportunities to join with others in a very unique way.

I knew it wasn’t about getting a new possession or even being able to fish when and where I wanted. Of course having my own boat could provide those things, but when I went deeper into my mind, it was about the opportunity for joining.

My wife Becky will readily tell you that I will talk to anyone, anywhere. She will tell you that I can’t even go to the grocery store without talking to someone I don’t know and sometimes making a new friend.

When she looks around to find me, she isn’t the least bit surprised to find me talking to someone. I have always been like that and while she will lovingly pretend to be a little annoyed, I know that she actually loves that about me.

She often tells our friends, “I was looking around for him the other day and of course, there he was, talking to a complete stranger.” But to me, especially as a minister and a student of the Course, there is no such thing as a stranger. How could a brother be a stranger?

Understanding the principal and asking the question, “What is it for?” has become an amazing tool for me. It helps me to remember to rely on Spirit on a moment by moment basis which is one of the best things I could ever learn.

Making decisions in life based solely on a spread sheet might provide a sense of financial security and responsibility, but at what cost? I can just imagine Spirit saying, “Do you really think that buying this will prevent Me from bringing you what you will need?” One of the passages in the Course that has always been very helpful to me is in Chapter 20 of the Text. I chose it as one of the quotes to put on the back of my Pathways of Light ministers card.

“Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill. As that was given you, so will its fulfillment be. God’s guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency. It rests on you. And what can be more certain than a Son of God?” (T-20.IV.8:4-12)

The other is from Chapter 18 of the Text: (T-18.III.2:2) “If you knew who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible.”

So, now the obvious question becomes, did I get the boat? Yes, I did. And I have to tell you that I have had deep and meaningful experiences with my brothers each time I have been out. We have caught a lot of fish and more importantly, I have made new friends and deepened my relationships with my existing friends and family.

It has shown me in a very profound and meaningful way what the Course means when it says that of myself, I know nothing, and to question everything, asking for Spirit’s guidance.

The ego’s guidance tells me that I am being selfish and irresponsible and now I know why. Using something I want to join with my brothers and really get to know them could eventually lead to its demise as my choice of voices to listen to. Now I’m not saying that I can go out and buy everything I want and justify it by saying it is for joining. But I am saying that it cannot be my choice alone, and that often my desires are very holy because I have put Spirit in charge.

Rev. Michael Graves is a Pathways of Light minister living in Beaumont, California.
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