The greatest surprise of Mary’s life was receiving half a dollar on her fourth birthday. She carried the coin about the house and was seen sitting on the steps admiring it.
“What are you going to do with your half dollar?” her mother asked.
“Take it to Sunday school,” said Mary promptly.
“To show to your teacher?”
Mary shook her head. “No,” she said, “I’m going to give it to God. He will be as surprised as I am to get something besides pennies.”
Whatsoever you are giving to people are just pennies, not even that. And then one day when your love fails…in fact it has never been there even to fail; it has been from the very beginning missing…just your belief that you were a loving man fails one day, then you start thinking of God and prayer.
God and prayer are possible only when your love has succeeded. When you have become a great lover, then only prayer can arise. Out of small pennies of love, something bigger arises – prayer. Then you have something to offer to God.
But almost always it happens that people who have failed in their life, they go to the temple and to the church. Of course, they bring their empty hearts…completely dry, not even tears in their hearts. And then they pray. Then nothing happens. They think the world is godless, they think God is absent, or God is deaf, or God has never existed; or maybe in the past he existed because so many people talk about him, but he must be dead by now, or he is indifferent.
Nothing is like that. In fact you are missing love energy, and without love energy, prayer cannot arise. Prayer is a refined phenomenon of the same energy – love. It is out of love that the subtle fragrance of prayer arises.
God is also tired of your pennies. God is also tired of your poorness. God is also tired of your misery. Bring celebration to God. Bring something alive. Don’t bring deserts – bring gardens to God. Don’t bring corpses – bring somebody dancing, alive.
Buddha’s first sutra says: Try to become rich so that you can share.
It is difficult for the strong and rich to observe the way.
Yes, it is very difficult for the strong and the rich to observe the way, because ordinarily only weaklings come to the temple, to the church, to the mosque. The strong people don’t come. They are too much in their pride, they are too egoistic; they are not ready to surrender.
People surrender only when they have become absolute failures. People surrender only when they have nothing to surrender. When the life has completely crushed them, when they are bankrupt, then they surrender. But what is the point of surrendering when you are a bankrupt?