I am among the ministers of God.
Purpose: To be God’s minister in this world, to give Him our voice, hands, and feet. Through this we unite with His Will and thus unite with all the gifts contained in His Will.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
Repeat, “I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that I have the means by which to recognize that I am free.” “The means” refers to giving God’s messages to your brothers. Spend the practice period letting the truth of these words sink into your mind. Let the world recede as you focus totally on these words. Let them light up your mind; let them change your mind. Do this in whatever way works for you.
The purpose of this practice period is to prepare you to use those “means”—to go out and minister to your brothers. Unlike other lessons, the main focus in this lesson is on what you will do after the practice period. During the day, show you understood the words you practiced by giving God your voice, so that He can speak words of love through you to your brothers. Give Him your hands, so that He can use them to deliver messages of love to your brothers. Give Him your feet, so that He can direct them to wherever someone is in need.
By doing this, you will be uniting your will with God’s Will. And when His Will is yours, all the gifts contained in His Will will be yours as well. By being His instrument you will gain His treasures.
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
Repeat the idea and then sit silently and wait on God. Ask Him how He would have you minister to your brothers in the hour to come, and then listen intently for the answer of His Voice.
As I see it, this lesson has two main things to say to me:
1) My function on earth is to be a minister (or messenger) of God, and the specific form that function takes is determined, not by me, but by the Holy Spirit.
2) As a messenger, my function is to receive God’s messages for myself, and then to give them away, as directed by the Holy Spirit. By giving away the messages I will recognize and understand the messages I have received.
The Holy Spirit knows me to the core. He knows my individual strengths and weaknesses; He knows the “larger plan” (1:5) I cannot possibly know; He knows how best to use my particular strengths, “where they can best be applied, for what, to whom, and when” (2:2). Therefore, it is unwise to try to evaluate myself or to direct my own functioning in this world, and far wiser to place myself in His hands. Because of this, I will “choose no roles that are not given [me] by His authority” (7:3). He chooses my function for me, tells me what it is, gives me strength to do it and to succeed in everything related to it (3:2).
A major part of the training program in the Workbook is learning to hear His Voice and to submit to Its authority. Learning to hear His Voice isn’t something that comes without any effort. Indeed, it takes effort and great willingness (T-5.II.3:9-10). I may feel at first that I don’t know how to hear His Voice, but that is exactly why I need this practice. I don’t know, as I begin, how to tell the Voice of the Holy Spirit apart from my own ego’s voice; I need training in that discernment, and some of it will be trial and error. But if I will follow the instructions in this book, I will learn.
The second point is really an encouragement to take up the function given me by God, which in a generic sense is to be His messenger:
He needs our voice that He may speak through us. He needs our hands to hold His messages, and carry them to those whom He appoints. He needs our feet to bring us where He wills, that those who wait in misery may be at last delivered. And He needs our will united with His Own, that we may be the true receivers of the gifts He gives. (11:2-5)
Clearly, He directs me very specifically, choosing where I go physically, whom I speak to, and what I say. Yet the main thing is that I accept this overall function of “messenger” for my life; if I accept that, the specifics will follow.
There is a three-step process clearly delineated in this lesson: 1) receive, 2) give, and 3) recognize.
First, I receive the message for myself, accept it, and apply it to my own life. I accept the Atonement for myself, seeing that the appearance of guilt within me is an illusion, and recognizing the innocence it hides. I accept my acceptance with God. I let go of my false and guilty self-concept.
Second, I give this message to those to whom the Holy Spirit sends me. This can be with words, with actions, or simply with the attitude of mercy and acceptance I show to those I meet. I give the message I have received. I show them the mercy God has shown to me. I see in them what I have begun to see in myself.
Third, as a result of giving, I recognize the reality of what I have received. “No one can receive and understand he has received until he gives” (8:6). Giving away the message cements it and validates it in my own mind. “We will not recognize what we receive until we give it” (12:1).
The second step is an essential part of the whole process. Without giving away the message, the cycle cannot be completed; my own recognition of salvation cannot become complete. It is not enough simply to receive the messages of God. “Yet another part of your appointed task is yet to be accomplished” (9:4). The messages must be given away, shared, in order to be fully received. I must take up my function as the messenger of God if I am to understand what I have been given.
Notice that the practice instructions are adapted from Lesson 153, where we were told “we practice in a form we will maintain for quite a while” (W-pI.153.15:1). These instructions will be followed until new ones are given in Lesson 171 (Review V), and apply to Lessons 181-200 as well.