Missed Opportunities

THERE are few things as discouraging as feeling that your opportunities for fulfillment have passed you by. But no matter how discouraging a person's situation may look, the truth is that God's man has a divine right to fulfillment. And nothing can abridge or cancel that right. ``Well,'' you may ask, ``what does that mean for me?'' In truth, every man, woman, and child is God's man, His very image and likeness, spiritual and perfect and eternal. And these aren't just nice-sounding words but spiritual truths that can be tangibly demonstrated.

Our starting point is the recognition that God is the one crea-tor and that His creation reflects in every aspect His infinite goodness. Man is God's own child. All he truly has, or will ever have, he inherits from his Father-Mother God. This divine inheritance of infinite goodness and fulfillment can never be taken from him. And God, infinite Love, never disinherits man.

Sometimes a person who, from a human perspective, is getting up in years may feel as if he doesn't have sufficient time left to accomplish all he wants to do. The suggestion is that the opportunity to achieve is diminishing. But because man is the wholly spiritual image of God, he in fact eternally reflects God, infinite good. Therefore his opportunities to express goodness never diminish. Christ Jesus' resurrection and ascension impressively proved man's eternal nature.

As we grow in spiritual understanding, we can progressively demonstrate a fuller expression of our divine sonship. When we recognize that man is not a helpless mortal at the mercy of chance or material law, but is the loved child of God, we begin to break free of the misconceptions regarding God and man that can seem to limit us. Awakening to the fact that God, divine Love, is the unchanging power governing man, we find greater and greater freedom to express our talents and abilities.

In the Bible, Joseph seemed to be denied opportunity for fulfillment. First his brothers sold him into slavery; then a false accusation landed him in jail in Egypt, far from his home. But he continued to develop his spiritual insights and to use them to help his fellowman. Eventually Pharaoh's need for spiritual guidance led to Joseph's being called from prison to interpret the ruler's troubling dream. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph's spiritual insight that he appointed him overseer of the whole land, second in power only to himself. Through his wise stewardship, Joseph saved many lives.

We all have spiritual insights that we can deepen through communion with God and study of the Scriptures. And we can all strive to express more consistently such God-derived qualities as intelligence, humility, purity, compassion, serenity, and joy.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis'' (p. 258). There is in reality no power that can hold man down or hold him back.

So we need never give in to discouragement. God supports our progress and opens the way for each of His children. As Paul, a devoted follower of Christ Jesus, wrote to the Galatians: ``Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. . . . And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men'' (Galatians 6:7, 9, 10). Sowing spiritual devoutness, we reap the opportunities we need to express God's goodness more fully. And nothing can take away this God-given right or the blessings it brings.

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