Source of the quotation "Share your time with God. Spend half of the day in search of livelihood," from a pilgrim's note.
Submitted by and name retained with permission of recipient.
"Share your time with God"
In an email message of 12 July 2004, Dr. Rhett Diessner enquired about the source of
the following statement, attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which appears on the back cover of a
book entitled “A Bahá’í Perspective on Economics of the Future”, compiled by Badi Shams
and published by the Bahá’í Publishing Trust of India in 1998. The passages states:
...Share your time with God. Spend half of the day in search of livelihood,
guaranteeing your material life and dignified appearance, and dedicate the other
half in the acquisition of moral virtues and service at the threshold of God...
The Research Department has not, to date, been able to locate the passage cited above
among the authenticated Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Based on available information, the
statement appears to be a pilgrim’s note. We note, however, that the passage is included in
a Persian-language compilation entitled, in English, “Service and Servitude”, published in
England in 1990 by H. Goharriz. The source of the quotation is given as “Áhang-i-Badí‘”,
volume 31, number 339, page 83. This latter publication refers to the statement as a pilgrim’s
note and describes the context in which the Master made the statement—‘Abdu’l-Bahá was
walking with a Western pilgrim and offered the guidance in response to the young man’s
question—but does not name the pilgrim. The Research Department has also not been able to
find an English translation of the passage, apart from the one provided by Dr. Diessner. It is
suggested that he might wish to contact Mr. Shams, in care of the Publishing Trust of India, to
determine whether he has any additional information.
Finally, given Dr. Diessner’s interest in the subject of service and the necessity of finding
a balance in one’s life, we provide the following extract from a letter dated 26 February 1933,
written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer. The letter states:
The advice that Shoghi Effendi gave you regarding the division of your time
between serving the Cause and attending to your other duties was also given to many
other friends both by Bahá’u’lláh and the Master. It is a compromise between the
two verses of the Aqdas, one making it incumbent upon every Bahá’í to serve the
promotion of the Faith and the other that every soul should be occupied in some form
of occupation that will benefit society. In one of His Tablets Bahá’u’lláh says that
the highest form of detachment in this day is to be occupied with some profession
and be self-supporting. A good Bahá’í, therefore, is the one who so arranges his life
as to devote time both to his material needs and also to the service of the Cause.