The Inner Power and the Responsibility that goes with It

LETTER NO. 93 - AUGUST, 1918

Many years ago I spent a few weeks on a farm in Maine at the time when they were harvesting potatoes. As the wagons passed me, I noted that the potatoes were all large and of almost uniform size. So one day I congratulated the farmer on having such a fine crop of large potatoes. He walked over to a wagon and showed me that the bottom of the wagon was full of small potatoes. He also said that they had not been sorted in the field but that the jostling of the wagon over the rough road from the field to the barn brought the big potatoes to the top while the small ones sank to the bottom. "If you put the big ones at the bottom," he said, "they will rise to the top and the small ones will sink."

And is this not just like life! People of representative appearance, of large qualities, rise to the top as we jostle one another over the rough places on the highway of life. "Yon cannot keep a good man down," is an old saying. He will rise to the top in spite of everything by virtue of the uplifting power within him. And similarly, no matter how often we put a small man on top, he will sink, because he lacks the inner power. We may build a house as large as we want and rear it above all other structures if we have material and labor in sufficient quantities, but the growth of man is from within, and no one can add a hairbreadth to the stature of another, physically, mentally, or morally. Each must work out his own salvation; he alone can determine whether he will remain in a lowly lot or rise to the top.

The farmer found that when his potatoes were carried over a smooth boulevard they remained mixed; but the rougher the road, the quicker the big potatoes rose to the top and the smaller ones sank to the bottom. In the great emergencies of life great opportunities await those who are ready to assume responsibilities and go to the front of the battle.

We are living in such a time, and if we aspire to rise, NOW is our greatest opportunity. The whole world is now asking for an answer to the riddle of life; inquiring whither the ship of humanity is sailing. And we have the answer. Upon us, therefore, rests the responsibility of living the teachings of the Elder Brothers and making them appeal to others by exemplary lives. Many of our brothers are carrying the teachings of the Elder Brothers into the very trenches and enlightening those who are ready to be taught. Those of us who are still in our usual environment will find the interrogation point in many hitherto closed quarters. Let us therefore diligently seek the opportunities and improve them, for "unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required."

I would suggest to the students that now is the time to see to it that the COSMO and our other literature, as far as possible, is in the libraries in their own cities; also that it is in a place where it is accessible and that it is being used. If a number of people inquire about it from time to time, though the Librarian may know nothing about it and perhaps even be hostile, the constant call for a certain book will finally force him to take notice. There is no doubt that the Fellowship teachings have within them an inner power that is bound to make a place for them in the world, but we shall acquire merit in proportion to the way in which we help to bring these teachings of the Elder Brothers to the notice of humanity in general. It is now vacation time and hence an especially propitious season for the dissemination of our soul-satisfying philosophy. Let us therefore all put forth an extra effort at this time. It will benefit others and ourselves also.