Praying for Wealth
Find out what happened in this podcast episode : https://bit.ly/2SKO2fF
Once upon a time, there lived two brothers in a small town. The eldest was called Ian and the younger brother was called Lucas. After their parents retired, Ian and Lucas took care of the farm. The life of the family had always been difficult.
One day, Ian said to Lucas, “Did you hear about Ken?”
“Our neighbor? What happened?” Lucas asked.
“He got rich. I heard that not long ago, he began praying to the Heavenly God. Now, he no longer needs to work.” Ian said.
“Are you sure?” Lucas replied with a frown.
“Yes, I’m sure. We’ve always wanted an easier and better life, I think we should pray as he did.” Ian said.
Lucas grunted and replied, “I’m not so sure, it sounds too good to be true. Even if it is true, I think someone should still cultivate our field.”
“I have an idea, how about you continue to work in the field and I will pray for the both of us?” Ian proposed.
Lucas was still hesitant, but Ian insisted, “Come on! It’s worth trying. I’m already excited just thinking about buying a new house.”
Lucas nodded and said, “Ok. I'll focus on the field.”
“It’s a deal!” Ian said with a big grin.
From that day on, Ian prayed diligently. Day and night he prayed, “Dear Heavenly God, our family begs for your kindness, please give us wealth and honor. We promise to repay you!”
One month passed, and Ian was still praying without any sign of success.
However, Ian’s diligence and sincerity touched the Heavenly God, who decided to help. The Heavenly God disguised himself as Lucas and met with Ian.
When Ian saw Lucas, he asked, “Why are you here? You’re supposed to be working on the field?”
“I feel I should follow your lead and pray instead. Maybe with the two of us praying, the Heavenly God would hear us and help both of us become rich faster.” Lucas said.
Annoyed, Ian said, “We had an agreement! You were supposed to cultivate the field. It’s a crucial time now, the field needs water and fertilizer! Otherwise, how will we have a good harvest in a couple of months?”
Still disguised as Lucas, the Heavenly God asked, “Must we do the planting, watering, and fertilizing for a fruitful harvest?”
“Yes, of course! I thought you knew that!” Ian exclaimed.
“My dear brother, what kind of seeds have you planted?” Lucas asked.
Ian was stunned into silence. The Heavenly God transformed himself back to his true form, and said to Ian, “I am the Heavenly God you’ve been praying to day and night. You must know that although others can support you to gain wealth and honor, you must do the hard work yourself. Do you know why you are so poor in this life?”
Ian shook his head, and replied softly, “I don’t know…”
The Heavenly God continued, “In your past lives, you did not practice generosity, and you were stingy. Therefore, you have only planted the seeds of stinginess. This is why you are poor in this life. Now, even though you diligently pray to me every day, you still reap the seeds, that is the causes and effects of your past lives. In the same way, if you wish to harvest apples during the winter, praying to countless Heavenly Gods does not mean your wish will be granted. You need to plant the seeds first to harvest the fruits later. Therefore, from today on, you should focus on practicing generosity. Only then will you be wealthy in the future.”
Ian realized that it was pointless to simply pray without any action. After that experience with the Heavenly God, he joined Lucas in cultivating their field. Later that year, they reaped a good harvest and shared it with the townspeople. The following year, the harvest was even better than the previous one. With a continuous run of good harvests, Ian and Lucas were eventually able to earn enough money to buy a new house.
This story highlights that practicing generosity leads us to a path of wealth. However, most people think that giving only benefits the one who receives. Also, how does giving bring wealth to the giver? Generosity is like planting seeds in a field. Once you have planted seeds, then you will surely have a harvest.
At the beginning of this story, Ian was not willing to put in the effort. Instead, he thought that simply praying would yield good results. How often do we wish for something to happen without wanting to put in the effort to make it happen? With the help of the Heavenly God, he realized that he must plant the right seeds to reap a good harvest. More importantly, sharing the harvest with others produced even better harvests in the following years.
Generosity does not only mean giving money. For example, we can speak good words, which is another form of generosity. Our words can deeply affect others and so it is important that when talking with anyone, we do so with positivity and encouragement. Even if you do not know how to speak good words, you can offer others your strength. If you don’t speak good words or have no strength to offer, it doesn’t really matter, because what is most important are your good intentions towards other people.
Good intentions are another form of generosity. When you see others speaking good words, or doing good deeds, you can rejoice and feel happy for them. This kind of generosity generates good merits to the giver. Therefore, by having a joyous heart and mind, we can practice generosity in our daily lives.
Just as Venerable Master Hsing Yun says,
“Generosity leads to a rich life, while stinginess leads to a poor life.”