Rev. Hyung-jin Nim’s Sermon,
Mapo Church, Seoul
November 10, 2007
Topic : Overflowing Together With God
…try to learn something from your experiences every day. There are miracles abound in your life.
Yeon Ah Nim’s Message:
Good evening brothers and sisters. We are truly blessed and honored to have you all here in Mapo Church this evening. Many people have commented that they are truly inspired by my husband’s book, A Bald Head and a Strawberry. My husband always tells me how grateful he is to hear that many people, brothers and sisters, got help from that book. I remember several days after he completed that book, at that time True Father was in Korea, and my husband was planning to go to Korea to get approval from Father whether he can publish this book or not. In fact, my husband was very nervous and worried that True Father and members might feel insulted to see True Father in such a personal and human manner. As you might remember, there is even a scene of True Father yanking his nose hair out in that book.
So he even told me that before he left for Korea, if True Father says “No, you can’t publish this book”, then he will just simply say, “OK,” and he will just keep it as his personal memory. Several days later, he left for Korea. I got a phone call from my husband. He said that True Father was truly happy about the book, and he even read it several times at Hoon Dok Hwae. He told me, “When True Father told me that he really liked that book, I truly felt that God’s love and blessing is flowing through True Father.” So, in the same way, I truly hope God’s love and blessing may always fill your heart with joy, laughter and peace. Aju!!
If we really want to live that life of blessing, wherever we go and whoever we meet, even during the day, try to leave some goodness on them. Try to leave them better than when you first met.
Before I start, I always like to start with something kind of enjoyable. At the Divinity School we always used to like looking at the funny stuff. You know, I came across this one. I don’t know exactly how it is, but I’ll share it with you. I heard a nice little story about an old man. He was wheelchair ridden, and one day he went to the church and there, and at the front door of the church was a beautiful bowl of holy water. So he wheeled right in front of that and he took some of the water and began to sprinkle it on his legs. All of a sudden he jumped up out of his seat and threw his wheelchair, cast it away. And at that moment a young boy saw that and ran to the minister, the priest. He said, Father, this is what happened…and the priest said, Oh my goodness, it’s a miracle! Where is that man? Bring me to him immediately. And the young boy said, well he’s flat on his derriere near the holy water.
Main Sermon by Hyung Jin Nim:
Today I’d like to talk to you about overflowing together with God. It’s so important that in our lives if we are going to live a life of blessing, to overflow with goodness. It’s a very important thing. If we really want to live that life of blessing, wherever we go and whoever we meet, even during the day, try to leave some goodness on them. Try to leave them better than when you first met. It doesn’t matter who they are, it could be the shop clerk; it could be the person who helps you with the gas. But every person you meet, let’s make it a habit of giving them goodness. When we do that, when we try to focus less on our problems and we make God’s goodness our priority, and we wake up in abide, in what is known as an attitude of gratitude. What that means simply is that during the day, we try to find one thing that we can be thankful for. It can be anything. It doesn’t have to be something huge or grand. It can just be something like, “I walked into church on my two feet”, “I have air to breathe today”, “I saw a flower on the way to church”. It can be something as simple as that.
The second thing is to try to learn something from your experiences every day. There are miracles abound in your life. Try to find something new you can learn from every day. If we keep ourselves improving and growing and maturing and overflowing like this, we will be a great blessing. You know, it’s very interesting. The word affluence and influence are connected to the word ‘to flow’. So, the etymology of affluence is ‘to flow towards’ and influence is ‘to flow into’. So when we overflow, when we learn to overflow with God’s goodness, when we do this with consistency, and not just one time or twice, but constantly in our lives as a habit, when we do this, it’s kind of like an ebb and flow on the waves, you know on the beach, where it comes up and it comes back. As we overflow, more affluence and even influence can come towards us. Many economists, when they look at money or cash, they see that as just paper, but economically speaking, it is the agreed upon energy or fuel of an economy. So it’s kind of like fuel, when you learn to overflow with goodness, you will gain influence and in many cases, you’ll gain affluence. And these are simply energies. But the question there is, if I’m selfless, if I really overflow with God’s goodness, and really am selfless, and sort of empty myself, won’t I be a doormat to the world? Won’t people step on me?
I heard a story about a young lady and she was always told to be good and selfless from a young age. She really was timid and indecisive, and she thought that in order to be selfless, she needed to let everyone step on her, and she had to let go of her dreams and ambitions. We have to remember that there is a big difference between selflessness and self-annihilation. We don’t want to annihilate ourselves. The really important thing in living for the sake of others is not to exclude you from the equation. If we do that we will be missing a big part. When we look at God, when He lives for the sake of others, like in today’s Hoon Dok Hwae passage, when God lives for the sake of others, we find that God is always that kind of being. However, he does not annihilate himself. He does not disappear. He does not talk negatively to himself. So that he sort of disappears and fades away. He still desires to be happy. He still has that in his heart. Even though he is selfless and living for others, he still wants to be happy. He still wants to share love. In the same way, us too, when were living for the sake of others, selflessly, it’s important also that we keep the desire to be happy in our hearts too, to be able to give and to receive, and to share love in our lives as well.
I remember one time I was talking and one sister asked me a question. She said, “You know the words you are saying seem to be contradicting Father, because Father says that you have to just keep giving and giving.” So I asked her, not sarcastically, the serious question, “Did you have breakfast this morning?” and she answered me, saying, “Yes, I had breakfast.” And I said, “Do you feel selfish, that you didn’t give your breakfast away?” and of course she said, “No. I don’t”. In the same manner, it is such a blessing for us to have True Parents here on this earth, because we have a physical model. We have a physical representation of what it means to perfect living for the sake of others, to be selfless. But we also can see and this is from our own first hand experiences as True Parents’ children, how father tries to balance his life. Of course he continues to wake up early and to push himself to push the providence forward. However, he also takes time to invest in the family. He goes out of his way to take care of Mother. And believe it or not, Father has clothes and he also eats sometimes, too. So we should too. You have to eat OK?
Everybody, when you are living for the sake of others, we have to remember, this doesn’t mean that we diminish or destroy the self. It doesn’t mean we throw away the desire to be happy, to want to share and give and receive love. Those are very central aspects to our life of blessing. So let’s remember that being selfless doesn’t mean that we beat ourselves until we disappear. It doesn’t mean that we are doormats to the world. It means that we empty ourselves of our ego power, and fill ourselves up and overflow with God’s power. See, when you do that, you lessen yourself and you make God greater in your life. When you do that you become a greater blessing to everybody and a greater goodness to everybody. So it’s important in our lives to fill ourselves up with what we need to give. If we want to share happiness, we have to also cultivate that inside. If we want to share peace, we have to cultivate that inside. If we want to share gratitude, and receive gratitude from others, we also have to cultivate in our lives. Empathy, compassion, encouragement–it’s the same thing; we also have to cultivate these things in our lives.
Try to learn something from your experiences every day. There are miracles abound in your life. Try to find something new you can learn from every day. If we keep ourselves improving and growing and maturing and overflowing like this, we will be a great blessing.
I heard about a concept. It’s called 360 degree leadership. It’s a whole concept in leadership training. In this concept there is the idea that somebody in the middle of an organization can be the leader. And how do they do that? They have a 360 degree leadership mentality. So there are 3 aspects to this. They lead up, they lead across, and they lead down. But it’s very interesting because the common theme behind all these types of activities, leading up, across, and down is very common. There’s a central principle. That principle is really, helping others succeed. See, the key in leading up, for example, or having influence on those above you in an organization, your job, your workplace, your school, etc, is making that person’s life, your boss’ life for example, easier. Its helping they succeed. Get their work done for them. When they need help, you are reliable. You make no excuses. You’re a go-to guy. See, when you do that, no matter how busy you are, you don’t make excuses. You do the work, you help them succeed. When you do this, you become indispensable to the people above you. You earn your merit and have tremendous value, and you have influence, and thus it’s easier to be promoted. And what happens after that? Affluence comes your way.
These are connected, these kinds of things. When we overflow with goodness, when we can help others succeed, we get benefits as well. The key to leading across is also the desire to help your peers succeed, and get raises in a work environment maybe. At first, they may be suspicious of your activities, they may not trust you, but over time, if you’re consistent, they build trust, support, and naturally you become the peer leader in that leading across leadership activity.
Leading down is also the desire to see and help your people succeed and get the glory. People are working hard for you and you work hard for them in return. You help them get the glory. You help them succeed. You make good decisions for them so that they all succeed. You see when we talk about 360 degree leadership, it’s also that same key, helping overflowing with goodness; helping those people around you to have more success and blessing.
So how do I really practice overflowing in a very simple manner?
Number one, you have to first be good to yourself. Don’t think negatively about yourself. The first thing that can block God’s blessing into our lives is starting thinking negatively all the time about ourselves. If we’re constantly beating ourselves up. If were constantly thinking that we’re not able or capable, or worthy, then these are going to be great impediments in our lives. So the first thing we have to do is attend to that. We have to stop the negative thinking about ourselves and then also about our lives. You know, it’s too short to live life like that. So instead, every moment you have, every day you wake up, it’s important to start your day with just, “thanks.” “I’m thankful that I’m alive, that I can breathe today. I have oxygen today. I’m not breathing in carbon dioxide or nitrogen. I have legs that I can walk on. My hands are listening to me when I tell them to move.” OK? We can start with small things.
Number two; let’s recognize that helping others is part of our own success. When we focus not only on our success, but also include another person’s success in that goal, then we become more successful. At the same time, when we focus on our own health, if we help another person get healthier, it inspires you to keep being healthier. You all may know that if you exercise with other people. And we don’t want to only focus on our dream, but include other people’s dreams too. I’m not saying everybody’s in the world, but it could be even one person that you include as your team, into your dream. So it doesn’t mean you throw away your dreams, but you include others into them.
Number three, start small. Let’s start small every day. We can’t save the world by tomorrow, but we can help someone today. I received an email from a good friend of mine, she was a peer at the Divinity School, and she writes me, and at the bottom of her email she always has the statement, “Happy people make others happy. Sad people can’t make others happy.” And it’s the same way. When we’re happy, we can help others be happy. When we are realistically optimistic about our future, we can help others be realistically optimistic about their future. See, negative people can’t help you live a positive life, so you want to make sure that you’re not being a negative influence on yourself or even those around you, because you want be able to give people abundance and bring goodness into their lives.
So let’s keep improving ourselves. Because the key here is that we can only help as much as we are. You know the story in Galatians, Chapter 2, where Paul was in Antioch with Peter, and Peter was eating with the Jews, and when the Gentiles came he said, “I’m not going to eat with these people.” And Paul called him out, and said, “You are a hypocrite. You are talking about Jesus’ love but you are not eating with the Gentiles. You are not eating with normal Greeks. How can you do that? That’s not Jesus’ love.” And Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “for through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” You see, Paul was overflowing with God’s love for all God’s children. Not only for the Jews. He had love for all the Gentiles who were not within that law tradition. He was less. God was more. He emptied himself of his ego power and let God’s power come out. You see, he let that flow out of him and guide his conscience. And when we look at the history of Christianity, scholars tell us, because of Paul, because he reached out to the Gentiles, the non-Jews, Christianity was a phenomenal success, and reaching out to non-Jews became a permanent part of their history.
One of my favorite texts in the East Asian tradition is the Tao Te Ching. That’s a very ancient text from the Taoist tradition and that text is the second most-read text after the Bible. There is a beautiful section in it: section 16. And it says,
Who accepts nature’s flow becomes all-cherishing.
Being all-cherishing, he becomes unbiased.
Being unbiased, he becomes magnanimous.
Being magnanimous, he becomes natural.
Being natural, he becomes one with the Way.
Being one with the way, he becomes immortal.
Though his body will decay, the Way will not.
You see, when you are empty with ego-self, and you are overflowing with God’s goodness, you get peace, you get true peace. See, people want to be good to you because you are truly happy when they succeed. People go out of their way to try to help you get breaks that you may not even deserve. Maybe doors open for you that you couldn’t even plan to see. And at the same time you start creating a legacy. You start getting into the cycle of immortality. You tap into your connection with God’s divinity. And you let His eternal love and grace and goodness and courage and faith and strength overflow into others….
What can we learn today? Well, the first thing we can learn is, let’s be awesome today. Let’s work on being our best today. If we do less self, more God, we will ironically, gain more. So don’t forget. Let’s remind ourselves that selflessness is not self-annihilation. It’s important for you to take care of your bodies, of your health. You have to respect the temple that God gave you. Take care of your mind. Have happiness and faith in your heart. Have faith in your future. Take care of your spirit. Be sincere and practice your faith. Practice what you teach. See, when you fill yourself with what you wish to give–happiness, joy, strength, overcoming power, encouragement—when you fill yourself, you are able to give it. So, if you do this with sincerity, you will overflow with God’s goodness and be a blessing. The other energies like influence and affluence; they will come chasing you down. If we practice overflowing, that natural flow, that ebb and flow, will come back to us.
Brothers and sisters, I believe that you will live the life of blessing that TP have blessed you to live.
So until next week, let’s practice a little more VIP. When God sees all of you, he sees VIPs. He doesn’t see anybody else. He doesn’t see the failure, immature people, people who can’t do things, who aren’t capable. He doesn’t see that. We can’t look at ourselves with those eyes. Those are OUR eyes. When we look at ourselves with God’s eyes, even the principled perspective tells us, we have divine value, unique value, eternal value, cosmic value. So let’s remember those today. Until next week, have a little more victory, a little more illumination, and a little more peace.
Brothers and sisters can you receive this today?
Thank you so much.