MAYBE you've smiled at the ad too. The gentleman on the television screen tells of the virtues of a certain brand of nuts. They are very good, he says--in fact, much too good to share. His friends are convinced; they ask that he reconsider sharing with them. Very well, he decides to be generous after all. In the middle of each palm he solemnly places--one nut. And the last hand gets nothing at all. The ad reminds me of the times when I've thought that the very object or opportunity I need is in someone else's hand. Or at least that good is finite, made available ungenerously by circumstance, and prone to run out just before it reaches me.
If we take at face value the evidence of our senses, we do find serious indications that good depends on circumstance and is insufficient to go around. It would appear, for example, that food supplies are not always equal to populations, and that mature economies can't supply jobs for all who need them. In fact, material conditions are seen as inadequate in a basic sense, able to supply only the so-called ``fittest'' with existence at all.
In view of the conventional attitude that good is in short supply and must be aggressively hoarded or coveted, Jesus made some startling commands. How could he possibly suggest, as he did to one follower, that we sell all we have and give to the poor, or give our cloak to one who has just taken our coat, or take no thought for our lives? 1 Yet, seen in the light of Jesus' entire ministry, these aren't grim moral commands to be obeyed in the context of a material world, but urgent invitations to look entirely away from material conditions as the source of good.
Jesus showed that we don't have to extract blessings from narrow windows of opportunity in basically harsh physical, social, or economic conditions. In reality we dwell in the source of good. Created in God's image, our real nature possesses inherent good. Shining forth from God, we live to express heavenly goodness.
In healing the sick, walking over the sea, and feeding a large group with a very small amount of food, Jesus demonstrated that the authority and magnitude of our real nature can be found superior to the innumerable claims of the carnal mind that man's lot is hardship and limitation. In fact, the wholeness, abundance, and dominion of man are primary; and the deprivations of mortal life are not the cold facts they seem, but impositions on man's heritage of good.
The so-called carnal mind, the supposed source of materialistic thinking, leads us to believe that good is available only through certain limited opportunities, of which, it usually adds, it is our special fate to be deprived. Yet Jesus showed that the belief in good's partiality can be healed, replaced with an empowering conviction of the impartiality and universality of good.
The man at the pool of Bethesda might well have thought himself long deprived of the single circumstance through which he could be healed. He had tried to reach the pool first when the waters became agitated and were thought to cure maladies. But alone and crippled, he always failed. Jesus, demonstrating the universality and supremacy of good, commanded him to take up his bed and walk. And the man did.2
Our Christly conviction of good's universality can similarly help to dispel the crippling belief that some individuals or peoples must always be the have-nots of our world. We all have unlimited opportunities to experience good because, as God's children, we are inseparable from the source of good--God. Mary Baker Eddy3 writes, ``Tireless Being, patient of man's procrastination, affords him fresh opportunities every hour . . . .'' 4
We can take the opportunity at this moment to insist, through prayer, on our own and everyone's unity with our divine source. And living in harmony with our prayer through faithfulness to the one God and to the Christian precepts given us by Jesus, we'll see tangible proof of God's provision.
In Malachi we read, ``Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, 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 enough to receive it.'' 5
The windows of heaven are open to all. 1 See Matthew 19:21; 5:40; 6:25.2 See John 5:2-9. 3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4 Christian Healing, p. 19. 5 Malachi 3:10.