SOMETIMES it seems as if our only abundance is our abundant awareness of what we lack! But there is an abundance we can always seek fruitfully, even at such times.
This abundance is indicated in the Bible story of Solomon's experience as a young king. God says: ``Ask what I shall give thee." Solomon's response is to ask for ``an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad." The Bible notes in First Kings that God is pleased that Solomon has asked for this quality of thought rather than for personal riches. Because he really wanted ``an understanding heart above all else, God granted Solomon the true riches of spiritual wisdom th at he requested. God also gave him the other things that he hadn't asked for!
This indicates that to the degree we genuinely desire spiritual good, we receive it. And our practical provision is derived from that. I've had many marvelous proofs of this in my own experience.
One night as I prayed, however, I became aware that I wanted spiritual understanding in order to realize the human provision that I felt sure would come from such insight. Needless to say, such prayer wasn't very effective, and I could see that it constituted a direct inversion of Solomon's sincere desire for spirituality!
I struggled prayerfully to overcome what I saw to be a materialistic temptation. I knew that it is spiritual qualities--such as love and wisdom, purity and compassion--that God gives us when we turn to Him in prayer. I held to the recognition that I could pray for a thought full of spiritual ideas and a heart overflowing with love for others. To receive these would be reward enough, in and of itself! They were all I needed because they constitute the Christly abundance that was supremely exemplified by J esus. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has much to say about Christ Jesus in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ``Through the magnitude of his human life, he demonstrated the divine Life. Out of the amplitude of his pure affection, he defined Love. With the affluence of Truth, he vanquished error." Clearly the degree to which we follow the Way-shower in evidencing such Christly abundance is not particularly determined by the size of our bank accounts or the quantity of our possessions!
In a way God, the Giver of all good, is always asking each of us, ``What shall I give thee?" We have a profound need for the spiritual substance that God is giving, and yet we so often face the temptation of yearning for what humanly seems most desirable. That temptation, to the degree that we accept it, blinds us to spiritual abundance. It actually limits us to a material desire, which is always less than even a crumb of spiritual good.
God's spiritual nature is the true idea of abundance, overflowing with infinite goodness. The true man is the image and likeness of God, always reflecting His fullness of goodness. God's likeness--our true spiritual identity--is overflowing with the reflection of all that God is!
This true, spiritual view of abundance gives us limitless resources with which to foster humanity's recognition of God's goodness. And as Solomon found out, the right idea of abundance doesn't neglect our human needs! In my case the money I needed was supplied. Yet before it arrived I had already gained much more. I'd had a priceless glimpse of the abundant availability of spiritual good.