SOMETIMES the biggest challenges to our progress can be pointed up in the smallest, most mundane aspects of our lives. For instance, it was the day before a business trip, but I couldn't even think about getting ready. I had so many things to look after. They had to be completed before I could leave. My long and varied list included a baby gift, something needed for relatives whom I would be visiting, groceries for the family, mailing a ``care package'' to our daughter, and on and on! The hours were vanishing, and few items had been scratched off the long list. I felt frustrated -- heavy traffic, no parking places, necessities that were out-of-stock. I began to hear myself speak with a demanding and impatient tone. It startled me. I knew I had to stop and to regroup -- not the jobs on the list but rather my attitude and conduct. The circumstances were minor, but the lessons to be learned, major.
In the Bible we read, ``Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.''1 It occurred to me that every assignment to be cared for was motivated by love. There was no reason for me not to be ``a cheerful giver.''
It's natural to be motivated by love, because God is Love and each of us, in truth, is Love's expression. The difficulty is that we sometimes feel separate from Love and victimized by circumstances in which anything may seem easier than loving. But this is not a true sense of things. It's an imposition of carnal thinking, which is ``enmity against God.''2 Giving motivated by love is not a hardship but a blessing. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it this way: ``Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us.''3
I wasn't just completing a burdensome list; I was in service to my Maker, because I had the opportunity to share expressions of love. As I recognized divine Love as always present and the Giver of all good, I was enriched too. The grouchiness, self-pity, and self-centeredness dissolved. I was living more in accord with God, following the example of Christ Jesus.
Jesus showed us that we don't have to be swept up in the current of materialistic thinking until we have no control over our situation. Through prayer we can be lifted above the false sense of being a suffering mortal in trying circumstances. Our outlook can be spiritually based.
In the God-derived consciousness of our spiritual identity, there is no ill temper, self-centeredness, no lack of desire to give lovingly. Why? Because God's spiritual creation, including each of us as He knows us to be, expresses only the divine nature. Man, in truth, is the outcome of divine Love, not a frustrated, put-upon victim of circumstances. The recognition of this spiritual fact breaks the mesmerism of materially based thinking.
In my situation, I became aware of not combating humanity but rather of expressing more of God's goodness. It seemed natural to express more kindness and joy. I began to see that all my hours were His because, as the Bible says, ``It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.''4
The things I had to do took on new meaning. I realized that we serve God by glorifying Him in all that we do. Our thoughts and actions are important. And we can have control of them. When motives are spiritually based, our experiences improve.
The work I had to do became rewarding. Unique and helpful ideas came to thought or were suggested by others. I had become ``a cheerful giver.''
1II Corinthians 9:7. 2Romans 8:7. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 79. 4Philippians 2:13.