06.30.2021

"The Path of Excellence"

Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers
Final Week of the 4-Week Series, "The Four Agreements"

Click HERE to download this transcript.

MEDITATION
I want you to take a deep breath, and I want you to feel the presence of God that's within you and all around you. And one of the things that sometimes happens in life is that we forget who we are. We forget that we are created in the image and likeness of God; we forget that we are one with all that God is. And we begin to believe a story, a drama. We begin to believe our fears and our doubts. And then we come back to ourselves. Something happens, and we remember that we are spiritual: that we are created in the image and likeness. That we are God's beloved. And from that point of view, everything in our life gets easier. That we were created from the essence of God. That we were created whole and complete and lacking in nothing. That we are one with the One.

So whatever small things you've believed about yourself -- whatever fear, whatever shame, whatever doubt -- whatever judgement you've believed about yourself, tonight we let them go. We let them all go. And we come back to the truth: that we are one with the One. That we are the living expression of all that God is. That we are more than we can even imagine. That we are God's beloved. And in us God is well pleased.

Today I want you to see yourself in a new light: in a new way. I want you to see yourself from the highest point of view. I want you to release the stories and the drama, and truly come back to yourself. Come back to the truth of who you are. Thank you, God! Thank you, God!

And now, in a moment of silence, I want you to dwell in the truth of who you are as a spiritual being.

SILENCE

Thank you, God, for your Spirit, for your power, for your love, for your wisdom that is all within me. That I am so much more than I've been led to believe. That I am the living expression of all that you are. So today I dedicate myself -- I dedicate my life, I dedicate all that I am -- to fully express all that you are. And so it is. Amen.

 

MESSAGE
Rev. Richard Rogers: Okay, you ready? Okay, so what I want to focus on tonight is making your life easier. And I want you to be willing to look back five years, 10 years ... And I want you to see: Is your life easier now than it was five or 10 years ago, or is it harder? And I want you to see the difference there, right? Because I want us to be really conscious and aware why that is.

Because I have a belief that says that life could always be easier for all of us. And that most of us have a certain issue with life being too easy. Right? Most of us were raised in a culture that said you're not really going to enjoy it unless you work for it. Right? And we come a culture here where we take less vacation than really any other country in the world. Right?

And the mindset is that working hard is a guarantee to be blessed, to be successful, to be happy. And I'm not sure that's true. And I'm doubly-dog sure it's not inherently spiritual.

So what I want you to look at tonight is the places in your life where you intuitively know that you are working too hard. And what would it look like in those areas in your life if you lived with greater grace and ease. What would that look like? What would that feel like, if you lived with greater grace and ease?

Can you imagine the possibility that God could handle more of your life if you were willing to turn it over? [Mimics someone talking to him]: "I can't imagine that! That just seems crazy, right? Like, I have to be in control of my life; my life doesn't work unless I am 100% control of every detail and aspect of my life. And I'm going to make sure that I'm in complete control, so I never have to turn anything over. Because if I turn it over, then I'm vulnerable. I don't like being vulnerable. So, thank you very much, I carry the load." Right? Anybody ever live like that?

[Laughs] Don't point at your spouse! [Congregation laughs] I love those! "Pay attention, honey, he's talking to you!" I love that, right? Because it's always easier to see how somebody else could lighten the load, right? And it's always harder to see, "Oh, maybe that somebody is me! Like, maybe there are places in my life where I'm making my life harder than it needs to be." Right?

And one of those things we're going to talk about is: we've been focusing on the last several weeks on "The Four Agreements." And the first agreement was being impeccable with our word, and really speak our word and be really clear about our word. About being intentional and allowing our words to really line up so that we're not speaking out of this side of our mouth or this side of our mouth. We're letting what Jesus said -- "Let your answer be 'Yes, yes!' or 'No, no'" -- with the idea of really being powerful and clear in our words.

The second week we focused on don't take anything personally. And that's hard! Right? Because most of us have a wounded place where we make everything personal. We make everything about us. Whatever somebody says or does, we take it personally.

And then last week we focused on that we don't need to know. We don't need to make assumptions. That we can actually live with a lot less story telling in our life.

And so today we're going to talk about the fourth agreement: is always do our best.

Now, I think this -- of all of them, right? -- I think this is a game-changer if we were willing to apply that. Now you think, "Well, Richard; I always do my best." Right? I want you to see that I believe that this is an inherently spiritual thing: to do your best and allow your best to be enough. In every situation, I want you to really begin to look at: when are the times when you actually tried to overdo your best? And when you actually try to get to perfection, or you try to put in another hundred hours on a project to make it perfect in every way. And I want you to see when we actually move from our best to this ego place that says our best is not enough. And I want you to see the amount of drama that creates in your life, when you don't believe that your best is enough.

Because one of the things we operate from is this -- many of us -- is this core belief that says we're not enough. And if we have this core belief that says, "I'm not enough," then what I do: my best cannot be enough. Because I'm not enough! So if I'm not enough, then my best is not enough. So now I have to be perfect to even get close!

And what would happen if you just moved into a place where your best got to be enough? In everything! Like, how much easier would it be if, every morning, you woke up and throughout the day you just did your best? And at the end of the day, you didn't worry about it; you didn't fear about it? You just went to sleep knowing that you did your best, and that you had to trust God with the rest?

Because we're vulnerable if we just do our best! We have this belief that says: "If I can do better than my best, I'm going to be in control. I'm going to be safer. I'm going to solve the problem. Because I'm going to do better than my best." But if I just do my best, no I'm vulnerable, because I actually have to trust that God is in charge of my life! Right?

That whatever you do, what I want you to see is that all you ever get to do is your best. And I want you to make peace with that.

Do you know the story of how I really decided to shift my life? It wasn't just going into ministry ... When I went into ministry, my vision was that I was going to be a youth minister. That's where I came out of: I came out of youth ministry. I grew up in the Unity church. I was active in the teen program. I started, in my early 20s, working with teens. And I grew a very successful teen program. And then they hired me to do it throughout southern California and Nevada. And I started growing teen programs.

And so, when I went into seminary, it was the idea that I was going just ... I was going to be a teen minister. That's not a "just," but that's what I was going to do. I was going to be a teen minister.

And in my second year -- seminary was a two-year process ... In my second year, one of the faculty members who taught took a church in Austin, Texas. Her name was Rev. Sallye Taylor. And Rev. Sallye Taylor invited me to come and work with her teens at their 9 o'clock service. So I flew from Kansas City, where I went to school ... Flew to Texas, worked with her teens at 9 o'clock. And then at 11 o'clock, she said "she wasn't feeling well." And she had a, like a cough. [Imitates weak cough] Like, and it was just all malarkey. Right? [Congregation laughs] It was a story. And she said, "I'm not feeling good; I think I might have a touch of something. And I want you to speak at the 11 o'clock service."

Well, at that time the Austin church had about 500 people at the 11 o'clock service. It was always standing-room only. And she wanted me to speak at the 11 o'clock service. I didn't have talk. Like, I had clothes to work with kids on; I think I had jeans and a polo shirt. And she wanted me to do their big 11 o'clock service. And did I mention I didn't have a talk? [Congregation laughs] I didn't ... I didn't ... Like, I didn't have a talk! Right?

And I said, "Sallye, I don't have a talk." And she said, "I've heard you speak; you just go do it." Right? And it was like ... [Heavy sigh] Right?

And so I got up and just shared my story. I shared what was going on in my life. I shared that -- this was in the late 80s -- that I was doing a support group for HIV-positive kids in Kansas City. A lot of these kids came from very rural communities, and how tough it was to be HIV-positive in the late 80s in conservative mid-West communities. And I just shared their story. And I shared one kid's story after another, because I wanted people to understand how it was really like to be HIV-positive in the late 80s.

And when I was finished, I got a standing ovation. And I was, "Wow! This is really .... That was good!" [Congregation laughs] "That was, like ..." Right? And I thought: "You know, I never really wanted to ever talk to an adult." [Congregation laughs] Right? I didn't! [Laughs] I mean, I was like: I came out of youth ministry; I wanted to stay in youth ministry. And what I found was: adults had a longer attention span! [Congregation and Rev. Rogers laugh] Like, I could get through a whole 22-minute talk, and most people stayed awake for the whole thing, right? And with teenagers, that was about a 50/50 split if you could do 22 minutes! And so I actually changed the direction of ministry in that Sunday, because that was such a profound experience.

And what I knew that Sunday, and what I have come to learn years and years later, is that when you're invited to speak in front of people, that sometimes it works. And it works so beautifully, it's life changing. And sometimes you think you've done just as much prep and and it's a fireball to nowhere, right? And it's a crash-and-burn. Right? And as much as I like it when every Wednesday or Sunday works, they don't all work! And I wish I had the magic formula to make them work week after week after week. And I just ... They don't always work!

And what I've come to understand is that all I get is my best. Like, all I can do -- week after week -- is my best! And sometimes my best is fabulous! Wonderful! Fabulous! Right? And sometimes it's like, "Ugh. I wish I could do that one again! You know ... let's just come back at 8 o'clock; let me try it again. Now that I've done the warm-up, let me try ... Maybe we'll do it again at nine." Right? "Give me a little bit, and I'll come back and I'll try it again." Right?

And sometimes it's so frustrating! Right? And I'm so glad I'm not a surgeon. [Congregation laughs] Right? Can you imagine how tough it ....? I've got a friend who's a surgeon! Can you imagine how tough it is when your best is not really enough for that day? You know, it's a tough thing to know that when you're doing something that's so important to other people and to yourself, and all you get to do is your best! Like, that's all we ever get to do: is our best. And sometimes our best is fabulous, and sometimes we kind of miss the mark. And it doesn't go so well. And our ego says to us, "Well, let me step in and let me fix this. Let me change this. I can do better. I can make it perfect. I can change this. I can fix this. I can have you go and do things that are way ...."

And it's like, "No!" That's not it at all! Like, every day all we get to do is our best. That's all we get! We get up every day, just get to do our best. And the results we have to give to God. And it's humbling! It's frustrating. It's annoying. It's scary. Because we never know when we get up today if it's going to feel if our best was enough, or if it's going to be, "Oooh, I was so close!" But if we don't do it from our best, then our ego steps in and really tells us it's never really good enough. It's never really good enough! That we try, we try and we try, and it could always be better.

So tonight, I want you to look at those areas in your life where you're making life harder than it needs to be. Where you're frustrated or disappointed or sad that you're not getting the results that you want. And I want to kind of pull you back to your best. To just your best. No more; no less. I want you to do your best in relationships. I want you to do your best in your work. I want you to do your best with your family. I want you to do your best with your health and with your eating and with your exercise. I want you to do your best! I want you to do your best with your finances. I just want your best; not one iota more than your best. Just your best.

And when you're done at the end of the day, I want you to look back at that day and be able to say to yourself, "Win or lose, that was my best. And I'm willing to trust God with everything."

Because the reality is: what do you understand is the fundamental principle of the Universe? Anybody want to take a shot at it? What do you think is the fundamental? If you only got one spiritual principle -- out of all the spiritual principles, you only got one spiritual principle -- what do you think's the fundamental spiritual principle of the Universe?  [Congregants shout out answers] God is? Okay. Anybody want to vote for love? No. Anybody want to vote for forgiveness? Nope. Faith. Close, but no. Right? The fundamental spiritual principle is: As you give, so shall you receive. Because we have free will, this is the meat and potatoes. Right? That the entire Universe is based on: As you give, so shall you receive. The whole thing, right?

So imagine every day you get up and you give your best. Not one ounce over your best, and not one ounce under your best. You just give your best.

Now, if every day you're giving your best to life -- if every day you're giving your best to the Universe -- what can we trust is going to come back to you? The best! Like, as you give your best every day, what's going to come back to you is the best that the Universe has! Because every day you're committed to your best, and not one ounce over, and not one ounce less ... You're heading for that sweet spot right in the middle where -- every day, every situation -- you're giving your best, and every day you're open and receptive for the best that the Universe has for you.

"I give my best and I am open to receive the best of God." Together: [with congregation] I give my best and I am open to receive the best of God." One more time like we mean it: [with congregation] "I give my best and I am open to receive the best of God."

I want you to feel that! That, as we decide not only is our best enough, but our best is all we've got. That it opens the door for us to be willing to receive the best that the Universe has for us. And it allows us to be at peace ... for some of us, for the first time.

That, when we give our best -- whether it looked wonderful or not ... When we give our best, we have to trust God with the rest. When we give our best day in and day out -- and we get blessed. We get blessed in greater and greater ways.

Because some talks, in my own world, were better when I gave them when they were when I wrote them at 4 o'clock this afternoon. [Congregation laughs] Right? There is an activity of Grace – right? [laughs] -- that says, "Richard, that's kind of good, but just be still, and let me use your mouth." [Congregation laughs] Right? And there's sometimes when I think, "Where'd you go?" Like, "Where'd you go? 'Cause it didn't feel like you were there helping at all!" Right? Because it just didn't work.

Let me read from don Miguel:

"There is just one more agreement, but it's the one that allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits. The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: Always do your best.

Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from moment to moment. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times not so good. When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you're tired at night. Your best is different when you are healthy as opposed to being sick, or sober as opposed to drunk. Your best will depend on whether you are feeling wonderful and happy, or upset and angry and jealous.

In your everyday moods your best can change from one moment to another, from one hour to the next, from one day to another. Your best will always be changing over time. But as you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best becomes better than it ever was before.”

So here's what I want. I want you to look at the levels of your life where you're trying to be perfect. Where you're trying to be super-duper extra-ordinary. Right? And I want you -- in those areas of your life -- I want you to bring yourself back to Truth. I want you to bring yourself back to a spiritual life, and no longer try to do it from your ego, from your personality, from some amazing thing. I want you just to do it from the Spirit of God within you. And that, every day, simply do your best, and trust that -- as you do your best over and over and over again -- that your life is going to get so much easier!

He makes one more point that I want to share with you:

"Just do your best -- in any circumstance in your life. It doesn't matter if you are sick and tired, if you always do your best there's no way you can judge yourself. If you don't judge yourself there is no way that you're going to suffer from guilt, from blame, from self-punishment. By always doing your best, you will break the spell that you've been under."

And then he goes on and tells a story about a young man who goes to a Buddhist teacher and says, "I want to get to enlightenment." And the teacher says to him, "Okay; then meditate 30 minutes a day for two years, and you will be enlightened." And the young man hears that and says, "Okay; that's great. What if I meditate for two hours a day? How long will it take?" And the enlightened teacher says, "It'll take you 10 years." [Congregation laughs] And then he says, "What? Well, what if I do eight hours of meditation a day. How long will it take me?" "It'll take you 20 years." [Congregation and Rev. Rogers laugh] Right? That's funny! Right? 

And the idea is that, when our ego is in charge of our effort, we're not living the spiritual life. But when our spirit -- our true self -- is in charge of our spiritual life, then we just do our best, trusting that God will move through every situation. We will be blessed. It'll all work out. There's divine order. There's a perfect harmony and rhythm to life. And we just do our best! 

So right now, how well do you think you're doing your best when it comes to your family? How much are you doing your best when it comes to your work? With your healthy? And your finances? And I want you to begin to look at a simpler way for you to live: a way where you just breathe, do your best, and trust God with everything else. You get up in the morning, you do your best. Sometimes your best is great; sometimes not so much. But you do your best. At the end of the day, you know you did your best, and you trust God with all the details.

Alright; you willing? So this week your homework: are you ready? And you can do it all month, even though Lori will give you more homework next week. Right? [Congregation laughs] For a whole month, you're going to get up every day and just do your best. Just do your best with what you eat. Do your best as you drive. Do your best as you run errands. Do your best when you're at work. Do your best when you're around your family. Do your best! Just do your best! And at the end of the day, you acknowledge that -- no matter how it went -- that was your best. And you go to sleep with the realization that God is in charge of everything. 

So if you're going to live a blessed life, God's in charge. You just do your best and you trust God with the rest.

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

Menu >