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Spiritual Gain and Loss

Chapter 41 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, Whoever has something in his hand will receive more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little he has. (41)

Brill: “He who has in his hand, to him shall be given; and he who has not, from him shall be taken even the little that he has.”

The Gospel of Matthew has: “Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (13:12). And: “Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (25:29; see verses 14-30 for a parable on this).

This verse presents a vital spiritual principle, one which everyone ought to know, but which few really do. Spiritual and material life often parallel one another. There are spiritual assets just as there are material assets, and laws of spiritual abundance just as there are laws of material abundance, one aspect of which is spiritual evolution and insight.

Spiritual life is always presented in the West as some kind of holy hobby, a free gift of the Heavenly Father to his indulged and obedient children. Not so. It is as much a livelihood as any worldly profession, and even more demanding. Spiritual attainment which empowers the aspirant for further spiritual endeavor is the coin, the needed asset, the “something” this verse is all about.

He who has in his hand, to him shall be given. One who actually possesses spiritual development in the sense that he can draw on it to help or guide him through life–use it in a very practical sense–will as a consequence be able to increase his store of spiritual power and proficiency. It is the nature of spiritual energy to increase by drawing more to itself, as a magnet draws iron. For this reason, those who carefully preserve their spiritual assets through steady spiritual practice and allow no diminishment or damage to them will find their spiritual treasury increasing automatically.

And he who has not, from him shall be taken even the little that he has. Sometimes a person suddenly comes into possession of a degree of spiritual awakening through the action of past karma or through the grace of God or a holy person. If such a one immediately acts on this good fortune and makes the spiritual power or impetus his own, it will be the beginning of his spiritual ascent. If not, the result will be very negative and he may have ruined his only spiritual chance for this lifetime or even future lifetimes.

One time Bishop Fulton Sheen was in Paris. He celebrated Mass in the famous Sacred Heart Church, and on his way out was stopped by a man who wanted to speak with a priest. Bishop Sheen invited him to breakfast, and the result was that they spent the entire day together with the man eagerly asking him about spiritual life. The man’s intensity revealed that his situation was desperate. When they parted, Bishop Sheen agreed to meet with him the next morning at his hotel.

The next morning the man came to the hotel with a woman in tow, and proceeded to stand in the lobby and sneer at the bishop and mock all they had spoken about the day before. Then he turned and walked out without even a token farewell. The bishop understood: the man had met the woman and committed fornication with her the night before. Heaven had slipped from his grasp and hell had gripped him. He had fallen into the abyss about which it has been said: “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (Luke 16:26). He had become one of those “delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (II Peter 2:4). The word translated “judgment” is krisis, which means to become separated and cast out. Of course the man was not damned forever, but even temporary cutting off from spiritual opportunity results in confusion and suffering throughout this life at least. Such people do not need to die to go to hell, they are there already. When Bishop Sheen told of this incident he was deeply sad, but there was nothing he could do, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

“The little that he has” becomes nothing. Those who fall into this condition are those about whom God himself says: “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Move On

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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