"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him" (Psalms 62:5). These words reveal where we should put our trust and faith -- not in gold, but in the love of the Divine which will never fail us if we have perfect trust. When the rich young man came to Jesus asking what he should do to be saved, Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow him. The young man left him sorrowing because he put his faith in gold rather than in the Father.
Now following Jesus meant primarily service -- first, last, and all the time. Giving away his money was important, but not the most important part. Jesus had all spiritual power at his command -- he could feed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes, and help the lame to walk again -- and quickened this same power in his disciples. He offered the rich young man a place among these, but the man turned away. Rather than give up his riches and possessions, he passed up powers far greater, rewards undreamed of.
How much better was the choice of Solomon who, when offered any wish, asked for wisdom and knowledge that he could serve his people. Because this was in his heart, the Lord said:
Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. -- 2 Chronicles 1:12
Understanding and service do bring their reward: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God" -- and the kingdom of God is the kingdom of service -- "and all things else shall be added unto you."
As parents, we could easily give our child every toy he asks for, every desire of his heart, and require nothing in return; and many parents do. But where would that leave the child? Greedy, selfish, perhaps with no sense of responsibility towards his parents or his companions in the world. But enlist him in the kingdom of service and he takes a new lease on life. His interest is awakened: at once he is trying to find some better way, some bigger thing he may do. So it is with God, or better still, our inner god, who makes it necessary for us to learn to serve before other things are added unto us. Serve something we must, even if it is only the basest kind of self-interest. So we had best check carefully whom or what we serve, remembering always that no one can successfully serve two masters.
(From Sunrise magazine, February/March 2000; copyright © 2000 Theosophical University Press)