Meeting Others' Needs

AS a child during the Great Depression, I early learned to trust the Biblical promises of abundance that depends not on human resources but on the infallible support of our Father-Mother God. And we had practical proof that the Bible histories and Christ Jesus' parables are illustrations of God's laws at work and not simply miracles limited to a particular time or place.Christian Science has helped me to understand and obey these spiritual laws that free us from believing that poverty is normal, even inescapable. So when I was left with four children to support and educate, it was natural for us all to give serious thought to those lessons the Bible teaches. In II Kings, for example, the story is told of a widow who came to the prophet Elisha for help. She was so impoverished that a creditor was ready to take her son. Elisha asked her simply, "What hast thou in the house? From the small pot of oil that she had, all her needs were met. From this story we, too, learned to look at what we already had to meet our needs as a family. And we began to understand that good is a law of divine Love, God, that blesses everyone. We had a very large house and what we had in it was space, so we rented rooms to student teachers. When my children were teenagers, they had an opportunity to expand their college nest eggs by purchasing another rental property. They renovated, cleaned, painted, and papered. Then they placed an advertisement in the paper and asked me to choose a tenant. Three months went by, and none of the applicants seemed suitable as tenants. The youngsters' reserve funds dwindled. I became increasingly concerned and asked a friend, a student of Christian Science who had been part of several successful businesses, "How do you pray for your business? "Get a broader concept of prayer, he urged. And as we talked he referred to a passage from the book of Isaiah that he had found helpful: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free . . . ? He told me how he prayed every morning to correct any mistaken concepts he--or anyone else--might have about his business. And he reminded himself that whatever is good God supports. Then he asked an interesting question: "Thousands of houses are rented in this country every day; and I'm sure several people have answered your ads. What happened to them? "Oh, I wailed, "They were all awful. Just yesterday a woman wanted to paint the living room black! He smiled, "Didn't it occur to you how easily it could be repainted after she left? He went on to say, "Now the very next time a prospect appears, don't think about what you want; try to meet that person's needs. Well, that made me think! Soon another couple answered the ad. "This house is exactly what we want! they said. "The only thing we need is a stove. We can take it if you provide a stove. At first I was filled with discouragement. Where would the children get enough money to buy a stove? Then I remembered what my friend had said. "Give me twenty-four hours to see what I can do. I went home to pray to see what would meet both our needs. As I prayed, the telephone rang. "We are having a garage sale, the caller said. "Have you anything to donate? I did, and I gathered the articles together to take right over. When I got to the sale, the first thing I saw was the stove that I needed. I asked the attendant if it worked. "Of course; it's mine. I need a larger one. We're only asking $25 for it. The couple were pleased. They moved in and were exemplary tenants for several years. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. My children and I certainly saw this illustrated, in a small way, when both our need and our tenants' needs were met as a result of prayer.

Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.

BIBLE VERSE Then said Jesus unto them . . . . As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. . . . Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:9, 31, 35-38

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