It hardly seems an exaggeration to say that these days everyone is preoccupied with the stock markets and their volatility. Someone is a multi-billionaire one day, and only a millionaire the next. But the consensus is that the economy continues to be robust.
It almost seems sacrilegious to mention that not everyone is doing well. But what about those who are not participating in this boom, or have lost money from unwise investments? What can they do?
I remember all too well a similar period a while back, when the daily news reports spoke about how great the economy was doing. But at home, my own economy was terrible. I had been self-employed for a year or so, and things had been going well at first. But then the cash flow dried up. Bills were mounting, and I'd been eating popcorn for several days because that was all I had left in the house.
The thought of changing my line of work didn't strike me as a valid option. So I turned to God in prayer even more earnestly than I had before.
As I prayed, I noticed a conflict. Part of me was convinced that I had to have money to survive. I needed food, and gas for the car. Another part of me, the praying part, was saying that I needed a better understanding of God, the divine Spirit, to live. I had learned from the Bible that God was the giver of life, and that as the children of Israel had learned in their years in the wilderness, He was an unfailing source of good.
At this point, I realized I knew a lot more about what I lacked than what I possessed. That is, I could have told you in minute detail what I didn't have; but I would have been fuzzy if I had to give you a list of what I did have from God.
So I started to think about how poor I would really be if I knew nothing about God. I began to acknowledge the strength, the comfort, the hope, the goodness, that I had felt during those weeks because I knew that I could turn to God.
The Bible says, "Seek ye me, and ye shall live" (Amos 5:4). It struck me at that time that all the life I had at that moment was derived from God. He was the creator, the author of all life. This gave me the sense that God was the real foundation of my life. It might look like I needed more matter or money, but I already had God's goodness and love. My prayers that afternoon brought me more inspiration and understanding than I had received for a long time.
Later that afternoon, a client dropped by to pay an outstanding bill. Of course I was grateful, and I was soon off in the car to buy some food. But as I drove home, I looked at the bag of groceries. I remember thinking: "In a week or so, I'll have eaten up all this food; but I'll never use up the spiritual lessons I have learned today. They will be with me forever."
Jesus taught, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). If our sense of what we lack is allowed to drown out the evidence of God's goodness, His power and presence in our life, our progress will be slower. In a chapter called "Prayer" in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy elaborated on this idea: "Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more" (pg. 3).
In the face of acute need, that may be challenging. But it is the way to overcome lack and debt. It opens our eyes to see that we live under the jurisdiction of God. If, as the Bible notes, God even helps the sparrows to find a home, He must be providing us with clear evidence of His goodness as well!
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.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society