04/21/2021

Don't Die with Your Gift Within You

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers

Click HERE to download this transcript.

INTRODUCTION/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Rev. Richard Rogers: Hello; I’m Richard Rogers, and I want to welcome you to Wednesday night at Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center. We are getting closer and closer to reopening the doors; I want you to your calendar – if you haven’t already – for June 9. It’s the first Wednesday night live service in about 150 years, and we want you to be there for this special, special night!

Also, Sunday mornings are going to also be going at 9 and 11, and their first Sunday morning will be on June 6. So we’ve got a lot of excitement coming up as we’re getting used to doing live services again. So I hope to see you soon.

Also, next week my talk is called “The Three Cs” … and if you’re really, really good, I’m going to throw in a fourth “C.” [Laughs] So I’m going to do at least three “Cs,” and maybe four “Cs” on next week’s talk. And it’s really going to be a fun one! It’s living the three Cs.

Alright; let’s open our minds, our hearts, our souls and let’s take a moment of prayer to set the intention for tonight.

 

OPENING PRAYER
I want you to take a deep breath, and I want you to feel God right here, right now. That there is only one presence and power at work in your life: God the Good. And that we just open our mind, our heart, our soul to the infinite goodness that God has for us. Thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God, for all the blessings. For all the good. For the laughter, for the joy. For living our best life. That we are committed to living our best life in greater and greater ways. And so it is. Amen.

 

SOLO
Guest artist Kristen Drathman sings, “Live Like You Were Dyin’”

He said, “I was in my early 40s,
With a lot of life before me,
And a moment came and stopped me on a dime.
I spent most of the next days
Lookin’ at the X-rays,
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time.”

I asked him, “When it sank in that this might be the real end,
How’s it hit you, when you get that kind of news?”
What’d you do?”
And he said,

“I went sky divin’,
I went Rocky Mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I, I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”

And he said, “Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying.”

He said, “I was finally the husband
That most the time I wasn’t,
And I became a friend a friend would like to have.
And all of a sudden goin’ fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition.
And I went three times the year I lost my dad.
I finally read the good book,
And I took a good long and hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again.
And then…

I went sky divin’,
I went Rocky Mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I, I spoke sweeter,
And I, I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”

And he said, “Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying.”

Like tomorrow was a gift
And you’ve got eternity
To think about what you’d do with it,
What could you do with it,
What did I do with it,
What could I do with it?

Sky divin’,
I went Rocky Mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I watched an eagle as it was flyin’.

And I said, “Someday I hope I get the chance
To live like I was dyin’.”

To live like you were dyin’.
To live like you were dyin’.

MESSAGE
Rev. Richard Rogers: Kristen, fabulous! Thank you; thank you; thank you! It’s always great to have you; we love it when you’re here! Thanks for being here tonight.

Alright; I want to talk about living tonight. And I want to talk about how you’re living tonight. And I’m really going to challenge you to really look at how much you’re living your life. How much gas is still in the tank? Right?

Some of us are kind of living our life, and we’re not really giving it our all. We’re not really giving all of our gifts. And I want you to really open a space tonight to: What would it look like if you gave everything you had to give?

Do you remember the movie, The Bucket List? You know, it was a story of billionaire Edward Cole, played by Jack Nicholson. And the car mechanic, Carter Chambers, played by Morgan Freeman. And they’re complete strangers. They’re laying in a bed in a hospital room across from each other. And the two men find that they have something in common: that they’re trying to come to terms with the end of their life, and what their life meant, and how they lived their life.

And I think, for many of us, there’s [laughs] … My father-in-law says that life is like a two-week vacation. The first week you think you have all the time in the world, and the second week of vacation you realize [laughs] the end’s going to be here before you know it. And I really believe that, when we get to a certain age – when we get to a certain time in our life – we start noticing that maybe we have more years behind us than we have in front of us. And that we’ve got to really be making some decisions about how we’re going to live our life.

I remember when my dad got — my dad had brain cancer. And I remember when he was diagnosed with brain cancer; for me, not only the grief of dealing with his pain and his grief of going through the cancer, but the realization that, you know: what am I going to do with my next 25 years? What am I going to do? Am I really going to live my best life? And that, for me, was really a guiding moment in making some changes, and really reorganizing my life so that I could really live what I felt was still within me to live.

In the book, Die Empty, Todd Henry says, “The most valuable land in the world is not Manhattan, nor the oil fields of the Middle East, nor the goldmines of Africa. The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard; in the graveyard are buried all of the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, unreconciled relationships and all the other things people thought, ‘I will get around to that someday.’ Someday, however, their tomorrows did run out.”

George Bernard Shaw said it this way. He said, “This is the true joy in life: being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a refurbished, selfish little cog of ailments and grievances, complaining about the world that will not devote itself to making you happy.”

“I’m of the opinion,” he said, “that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live, I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It’s a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make sure it burns as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.”

And that’s what I want you to look at! Like, I want you to do a little wake-up thing; I want you to really look at your life right now, and say: “Did I give all the gifts that I came to give? Did I use up everything that was in my soul? Or am I just kind of giving the same gifts – year after year, day after day – that I’ve given for years and years and years, but I’m not really giving all of me? I’m giving a surface level of me; I’m giving the gifts that I’m used to giving.”

And what if today you made the decision to give your full self to life? What if you died empty? What if you gave the very best that was in you, and you held nothing back?

See, there’s kind of a … there’s an inner conflict going on with many of us. Right? We get used to giving a certain gift or a certain way we give our gifts, and we get used to that! And we feel confident in giving our gifts that way; even when we don’t like it, we’re just used to it!

But today what I want you to look at is: I want you to be willing to look at your gifts in a greater way. To go deeper into yourself – to go deeper into your soul – and making sure that you’re really exploring and harvesting the deeper levels of gifts that God gave to you. Because the way that we really experience our gifts is by expressing them.

You know, when we have a gift within us that never sees the light of day – that never makes a difference to our family or to the world – then we really miss out. Because we know that we have that potential, but potential without actualization – potential without usage. Potential without giving your gifts – really isn’t giving your gifts! You know, it’s just kind of a little head game that we play with ourselves. “Well, I know I could do that – or I think I could do that.” But it’s not until you actually do it that it makes all the difference in the world!

Bronnie Ware wrote a book called The Five Regrets of the Dying. She was a hospice nurse in Australia, and she came across – as she was serving the terminally ill people – she came across five regular regrets that dying people had.

The first one is: they wished they had had the courage to live their true self … not the ones that others expected them to be. So how many people do you think do what’s expected of them, but never really get to what’s within them to give? Right? And most of us can relate to that at some level! We do what we know; we do what is expected. But we don’t really have the courage to go all the way and give the fullness.

She said regret number two was: [laughs] I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Right? Spend more time in joy and in family and in friends and recreational activities, and just living life.

I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.

I wish I’d stayed in touch with friends.

And the fifth one is: I wish that I’d let myself be happier.

Today, is there a regret that you have? Is there more within you that you know that you’re being called to give to life and to this moment? To this possibility of you? See, what if you just decide to do it?

[Laughs] I’m going to do a talk next month, and I’m already working on the idea of this talk. And the idea of this talk is kind of standing in failure. And I’m going to do a talk where I’m going to make a case that, if we’re not failing on a regular basis, we’re not trying hard enough. [Laughs] Right? Because … I’m going to make this case that if your batting average is 90%, you’re not doing it right. Right? That we actually need to fail; we need that activity of trying things we’ve never done before, taking chances. We need that opportunity just to keep our soul fresh!

So what’s keeping you from living your best life? You know, Unity teaches the power of a thought. But sometimes the power of a thought isn’t always empowering; it’s not always good. It’s not always positive. Sometimes we have thoughts that actually get in the way of us moving our life forward. These thoughts can be thoughts that actually stop us from living our best life.

And so what thought is keeping you – what belief is keeping you – from giving all of yourself to life? Do you feel like you’ve got to hold back? You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got gas in the tank at the end of the race?

Well, I’d like to suggest today that, as you give, so shall you receive. If you want to explore more and more of your gifts, then you have to give more and more of your gifts! You know, when we think about our “bucket list,” most of us think about either our “do’s” or our “have’s.” You know, we get to a certain age and we think: “If I don’t get that red Corvette now, I’m never going to get that red Corvette.” And that’s the level of living life from what we have. And many of us, we start life by accumulating stuff. Right? And if you look [laughs] at most of our homes and our garages and our closets, most of us have been really good at all the stuff we have. Most of us have too much, right? But there’s that level of life where we just focus on the “have’s.”

The next level of a life is the “doing.” Right? And many of us – our bucket list is filled with all the things we haven’t yet done. “I want to go on a safari.” Or, “I want to go to Europe.” Or, “I want to …” Whatever it is. But then the next level up after having is doing. Right?

But the area that I’m really the most excited about – when it comes to you living your best life – is being. Who do you want to be? Right? You can look at all the ways that you’ve shown up before, all the ways that you’ve acted. All the ways that you’ve been in the past. But the question is: what is the being? What is the way that you want to be going forward? And realizing that it’s in our being that we truly experience Spirit and express Spirit. It is in our being that we fully allow the fullness of God.

Like, what if you allowed your bucket list to be all about levels of being? “I want to be kinder.” “I want to be more loving.” “I want to be more generous.” Right? I want you to really look at your bucket list from this level of being, doing and having.

Now, if you still want your red Corvette, I say, “Go for it!” Right? But as long as you’re also working at the level of being! So that you’re expressing more God! You’re expressing more of yourself! You’re expressing more of your soul! You’re actually being kinder and happier than you’ve ever been before. Because doing and having don’t, in and of themselves, create a different level of being. And being is where the real change is made in our lives.

Okay; I want to go over here. [Walks to easel pad.] And I want you to look at three different levels – not only in your being, doing and having – but I want you to look at three different levels of gifts. [Draws three circles stacked on top of one another on the pad] And these are all gifts.

The first one is the gifts that you’ve already given. [Writes “Gifts Given” in the top circle.] Right? That you regularly give. Right? And I want you to really make an inventory of all the gifts that you regularly live. And this might be at your work or your family. What are the gifts that you know that you regularly give?

Then the next level is the gifts not given. [Writes “Not Given” in the middle circle.] Gifts that you know that you have, but that you don’t regularly give them. Right? This might be a quality or an attribute that you know that you have. Maybe you’re intuitive, and you don’t always share that with others. Or maybe you have a gift that you don’t regularly give.

But what’s interesting about these two levels, right? [Draws a brace connecting the top two circles together.] These two levels are both the things that you’re conscious of. Either where you’re giving it or not giving, you’re really conscious that you have these gifts.

The third level really is – for me – is the most exciting. It’s the gifts that are not known. [Writes “Not Known” in the bottom circle.] And you think, “Well, Richard; if I don’t know I have a gift, how do give it?” Well, what’s true – for me, anyway – is the more that I’m giving from this deeper level [points to the middle circle] – the more that I begin to give the gifts that I know that I have, but I haven’t yet given – what begins to happen is: these gifts [indicates the “Not Known”] begin to seep up. We begin to become more and more conscious.

But if this is a hard line [draws a bold line between the top and middle circle] – that you just give the gifts that you’ve always given … You’re just conscious of this gifts … You give these gifts … You’re good at giving these gifts … If this is where you’re living, and not exploring this level of gift giving [indicates “Not Given” circle] – of expressing your inner nature – then you never really discover this level [indicates “Not Known” circle]. Because there’s just no point! God doesn’t reveal this to you if you’re even at this [points to middle circle] level.

But as you begin to give the gifts that are unknown to you – the gifts that you’re developing, the gifts that you’re practicing – then what begins to happen is: those other gifts begin to bubble up within you. And that’s where it gets exciting! Like, you’re created in the image and likeness of God! You’ve been endowed by your Creator with immense spiritual qualities! But, as you give them, more is received! As you give of all the talents and abilities you have … Like, I want you to die empty!

Now, is that really possible? No! Because as you give, so shall you receive! So every time you give, your soul is filled, and there’s just more to give.

But I want you to give and live your life as if every day, when you go to sleep, you’re empty. You gave it all you had! You gave the gifts that you know. You gave the gifts that you don’t always know. You gave everything that you had to this moment. To this day. And when you rest – when you put your head on that pillow – you know you gave every day your best shot.

Reading from Scripture – Matthew 25: 14:

“There was a man who was going on a journey, and he called his servants to him and entrusted them with his property. To one he gave five talents, to another he gave two, and to the third he gave one.

The man who was given five talents went at once and traded with them, and he gained five talents more. And likewise the one who had received two talents gained two talents more. But the one who received one talent went and dug a hole and hid his master’s money in the ground.

Now after a long time, the master came to settle his accounts. And the one he had given five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, and said, ‘Master, you delivered five talents to me; here are five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! For you have been faithful over a little; and I will set much before you. Enter into the joy of the master.’

He also went to the man with two talents. He said, ‘Master, you delivered two talents to me; and here I offer you two talents more.’ And the master said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of the master.’

And the one who received one talent came forward and said,” [Rev. Rogers laughs], “I know that are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not plant.’”

Now, that’s always a great way to start a conversation [laughs] with your boss, who you know is a tough boss [laughs] – by telling him what a terrible boss he is! Right? So that’s not always a great way!

“’So I was afraid, and I went and hid that talent in the ground that I might have it when you returned.’ And then the master said unto him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I do not sow and I gather where I have not winnowed! You should, instead, have invested the money at the bank; at least, upon my return, I would have received interest.’

So he took the talent from him, and he gave it to the one with talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance. But he who has not, even that which he has will be taken away.”

So here’s the thing, right? We can’t get around this one! As you give, so shall you receive. At every level of your life that statement is true: as you give, so shall you receive. That you will have abundance. And when we withhold, when we hide, when we don’t give our gifts because of fear or insecurity or whatever story we have going on in our head, we actually limit the expression of God in our life.

Like, we don’t have forever to get this one! [Laughs] We don’t! Like, is your soul eternal? Yes! So, at some level, you do have eternity to get this lesson. But in this lifetime, it’s a “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t” proposition. You actually have a very limited time to explore the gifts that God has given you. And that is interesting to me.

What’s interesting to me, in my life, is: what are the gifts today that God wants me to give? What are the gifts – not from 10 years ago or 20 years ago or 30 years ago, 40 years ago – but what are the gifts today that God wants me to give?

I like to give the gifts I know I’m good at. I like to do the things that I know I’m good at. But the best and the highest is when I’m willing to explore that I haven’t given yet: that are new to me. That I’m playing with. That I’m discovering. And tonight I want to challenge you – really challenge you – to pick one gift, one talent, one ability that you haven’t already given a million times. I want you to pick one gift, one talent, one ability that’s new to you. And I want you to give that one.

I want you to give that one on a regular, consistent basis to really explore who you are next … not who you have been. You know who you have been. You’re actually good at being who you have been. But I want you to be who you could be! And who you could be is a greater expression of God. Because I guarantee that there is more God in you. And the more that you give from that Spirit of God within you, the more everything in your life is blessed! The more that each and every one of us is blessed! Because you’re living your life to the fullest.

Today, pick one talent. One ability. And I want you to give it in a way that’s greater than you ever have before. I want you to give something that’s new and fresh – that God is just dropping into your soul. And to see how you live that one today.

Alright; let’s move into our time of prayer and meditation.

 

MEDITATION
I want you to open your mind, your heart, your soul to what’s new and fresh within you. What is the gift that God is revealing to you right now? What is the attribute? What is the ability? What is it that God is giving you right now that will transform your life going forward? Let go of yesterday’s blessing. Let go of yesterday’s talents and abilities, and begin to entertain a new talent, right here, right now. Take a deep breath, and feel the movement of Spirit within you. Feel the glory of God within you. There is so much God – there is so much good – within you!

And I want you to be looking for what’s new and fresh within you. I want you to be looking for that which you haven’t given a hundred times before. I want you to be willing to be vulnerable and explore the cutting edge of your soul: the expansion of your soul, right here, right now.

Thank you, God! Thank you, God, for your infinite good. Thank you, God, for the blessings to numerous to name. Thank you, God, for the healing of mind, body and soul that I’m going through right now. That each and every one of us is at a time of deeper soul transformation. And, as we go forth, we give our greatest possible gift to the world. Thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God!  And so it is. Amen.

 

CLOSING/COLLECTION
Alright; this is the time of giving of our gifts and tithes. And I invite you to hold them in your hand as we bless them together. Our offering blessing is: “Divine love, through me, blesses and multiplies all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.” Together: “Divine love, through me, blesses and multiplies all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.”

So we dedicate every gift and every giver to the activity of God. That each and every one of us may be blessed one hundred – one thousand-fold – in return. Thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God! And so it is. Amen.

Alright, friends! I really want to challenge you this week. I want you to give your best self! I want you to explore that which you haven’t given before, and really, truly be the best version of yourself. So today, we’re going to just go for it! We’re going to explore the depths of our soul to really reveal what God is giving to us today.

Alright, let’s close with the affirming of our Prayer for Protection:

The light of God surrounds us;
The love of God enfolds us;
The power of God protects us;
And the presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is!

Alright; the choir’s going to sing us out with the “Peace Song.” Have a great week!

Unity of Phoenix Choir sings the “Peace Song”:
Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth;
the peace that was meant to be.

With God as Creator,
family all are we.
Let us walk with each other
in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me;
let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
Let this be my joyous vow:

To take each moment
and live each moment
in peace eternally!

Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me!

Copyright 2021 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Rogers

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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