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Three Debts

Chapter 100 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, Caesar’s men demand taxes from us.
He said to them, Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine. (100)

As spiritual aspirants we owe a great debt to three sources.

The first is to all those persons and things in the world which have fostered and benefitted our material life. “Caesar” includes all who have benefitted us, beginning with our parents and family, and all society and especially our friends. They are listed first because material awareness is the first center of the human being’s life. To “Caesar” we owe respect, cooperation and even on occasion personal sacrifice. Part of our duty is to remember this at all times.

The second debt is to God, the awareness of whom arises as we develop and evolve. To God we owe reverence, worship and obedience to divine law. This takes precedence over the first debt, and if there is ever a conflict between the two it should be resolved by putting God first and acting accordingly.

The third is to our spiritual teachers, to whom we owe much the same that we owe God, though to a lesser degree. This, debt, too, must always be secondary to the debt to God. I point this out because there is no place in spiritual life for the fanatical and slavish attitudes often projected toward spiritual authorities, including unquestioning acceptance and obedience. To spiritual teachers and their teachings we owe respect, attention, intelligent application and devotion–but only to a degree that is beneficial to us and sensible. Again, fanaticism and slavery do not enter into our debt to God, much less to the godly.

We could sum it all up by saying that our debt to others and society is to live as wisely, worthily and helpfully as possible. Our debt to God is to live as spiritually devoted as possible, and that includes observance of authentic spiritual disciplines and practices which bring us closer to the Divine. Our debt to spiritual teachers is to act in conformity with their wisdom and ourselves become wise and help others in turn. It is all very simple, but requires a lifetime to repay all three debts.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Father and Mother

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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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