Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? Yet there are instances in the Bible that indicate the advantage of such action. Take, for example, the woman whose husband had been an associate of Elisha. Her husband died, leaving her in such dire financial straits that their two sons were to be taken as slaves to pay off family debts. The woman had nothing, she said, except a pot of oil. Elisha told her to use what she had, to pour the oil to empty pots borrowed from her neighbors. As she did, she found she had enough to sell and pay off her debts. n1
n1 See II Kings 4;1-7.
Is there a lesson here for us? The woman might have complained that although her husband had served God, the family's only reward was poverty. She might have let resentment and bitterness carry her away and impoverish her still further. Or she might have tried to hoard her small bit of oil, refusing to do anything with it. She might have refused to humble herself by asking for temporary use of her neighbors' extra pots. But of course she didn't do any of those things. She accepted the divinely influenced directive. She poured out, and so can we.
Are you feeling short of money or companionship or health? Give of yourself. Pour out. Even the most deprived among us can give a smile, a cheerful saltuation, a word of encouragement. As Maker Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, "Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us." n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 79.
I know a woman who, although not wealthy by worldly standards, is constantly giving to others. She gives not only money but also time, effort, guidance, encouragement, and whatever else may be needed.
At a time when her husband was unemployed, she began to wonder if she'd be able to continued giving to her church. But after recognizing more definitely than she ever had before that God, Spirits, is the true source of good and that that source had not been cut off, she continued to donate unstintingly.Soon she was given a substantial raise in salary for some part- time work she was doing. Her household continued to function normally, and later her husband obtained other employment. At no time did the woman experience lack or inability to give.
The desire to be generous comes from God, divine Love. There's a divine influence in human thought, which, when allowed to surface, governs our thoughts and acts. This influence is the Christ, the eternal spirit Jesus manifested. The Christ decreases our fearful withholding and increases our generosity. When we pay it heed and follow its leading, we find we're giving more, not from a sense of duty or out of lack, but out of our God- given completeness. We may sense divinely bestowed completeness only dimly at first; yet, as we live what we sense, the completeness becomes more tangible.
Both our desire and our ability to pour out come from God, divine Spirit. All good has its roots in Spirit, and is therefore essential spiritual and unlimited. To trust this fact is to perceive good in more universal terms and to act graciously from that universal standpoint. It is to feelm generous and fearless and to actm generously in acknowledgment of the divinity and infinitude of all true blessings.
To whatever extent we sincerely do this (not in hopes of getting something, but because we love that Christly influence and want to obey it), we find that our containers for holding benefits get very full. The more we pour, the more we realize we have to pour.
As we give to others "in the service of our Maker," we can recognize that generour giving is more than just a good human effort, however admirable that may be. Instead, we can pour out with the assurance that divinely influence actions are divinely protected. We'll experience the vitality and richness of the Bible's promise: "Bring ye all the tithes into the store- house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the lord of hosts, If i Will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enought to receive it." n3
n3 Malachi 3:10.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE With the same measure that ye mete w ithal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38