Friday, June 27, 2014
Every Deed has its Own Reward
As to Paradise: It is a reality and there can be no doubt about it, and now in this world it is realized through love of Me and My good-pleasure. Whosoever attaineth unto it God will aid him in this world below, and after death He will enable him to gain admittance into Paradise whose vastness is as that of heaven and earth. Therein the Maids of glory and holiness will wait upon him in the daytime and in the night season, while the day-star of the unfading beauty of his Lord will at all times shed its radiance upon him and he will shine so brightly that no one shall bear to gaze at him. Such is the dispensation of Providence, yet the people are shut out by a grievous veil. Likewise apprehend thou the nature of hell-fire and be of them that truly believe. For every act performed there shall be a recompense according to the estimate of God, and unto this the very ordinances and prohibitions prescribed by the Almighty amply bear witness. For surely if deeds were not rewarded and yielded no fruit, then the Cause of God -- exalted is He -- would prove futile. Immeasurably high is He exalted above such blasphemies! However, unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward. Were We to enlarge upon this theme numerous Tablets would need to be written.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 188)
Bahá'u'lláh says that, in this world, Paradise is "realized through love of Me and My good-pleasure."
He also says, " For every act performed there shall be a recompense according to the estimate of God." And "unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward."
I began to think, what greater happiness is there than to do good deeds and be rewarded for them. And since the deed itself is the reward, there will always be a reward. Sound s so simple, but why then did Bahá'u'lláh say, " Were We to enlarge upon this theme numerous Tablets would need to be written."
Then I started thinking of specifics. Let's say we have a friend who is going through a hard time. We help him out and cheer him up. Now, we feel rewarded and feel we have done something good. But what if that friend is unappreciative and refuses to be cheered up? Was it really the deed that was the reward or was it our friends response to the deed that rewarded us.
However we know our friend needs help, so we go back and help him again. He comes to expect our help and takes it for granted, but he is still downcast and in misery. He never smiles and he shows no appreciation. How many of us would give up at this point? We may start to wonder if he wants our help. We may feel we are laboring for nothing. Is this deed its own reward?"
This reminds me of the story of the Boy Scout who came home and told his mother that he had a hard time doing his good deed for the day.
"Why, What did you do?" his mother asked.
"I Helped a little old lady across the street." He replied.
"What was so hard about that?"
"She didn't want to go."
Yes we do need to determine if our help is wanted before we act. That is why it is important to listen. But also, if our help is conditional of the recipient showing some appreciation, then we must examine again our motives. " However, unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward." Are we truly rid of all attachment?
Just something to think about. As Bahá'u'lláh says, "numerous Tablets would need to be written" if we are to enlarge on this theme.
To sum up there are a few basic questions we need to ask ourselves.
"Does the little old lady really want to cross the road?" If we are helping someone to do something that they don't want to do it does no one any good. Perhaps the little old lady needs to catch a bus and is trying to find a bus stop. We can ask and listen to her to find out what her needs are.
"What is our motivation for performing the deed?" If we expect a show of appreciation we may have the wrong attitude. Actions speak louder than words, so what are your actions saying. Perhaps the one you are trying to help hears, "I, your rich benevolent friend am helping you poor unfortunate scum and you better show me some respect because I have powered over you and can turn my help off at any time." Any time we are helping someone because they are less fortunate than ourselves, we are vaunting ourselves over them. Friendship should always be on equal terms. Yes, I see your need and since I have more than I need I want to help you, but you also have things that I need and would love to accept your help as well.
O ye rich ones of the earth! Flee not from the face of the poor that lieth in the dust, nay rather befriend him and suffer him to recount the tale of the woes with which God's inscrutable Decree hath caused him to be afflicted. By the righteousness of God! Whilst ye consort with him, the Concourse on high will be looking upon you, will be interceding for you, will be extolling your names and glorifying your action. Blessed are the learned that pride not themselves on their attainments; and well is it with the righteous that mock not the sinful, but rather conceal their misdeeds, so that their own shortcomings may remain veiled to men's eyes.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 314, 315)
If we have never had the opportunity to live in poverty, we do not know what it is like. By listening to those who are so afflicted we can gain an understanding of their needs and wants. We can gain much useful knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable to us. Everyone loves a fairytale with a happy ending, but not every story in real life has a happy ending. Can we listen to those sad stories and not be moved to do something about them? Perhaps the ending of the story is up to us. Can we give the story of someone else a happy ending. First we need to hear their stories. Maybe the chapter where they meet us will be a turning point.
These points are much to vast to enlarge on. We can only handle a little at a time. Perhaps the earth could not contain the number of books required to exhaust such a subject.