Well-oiled

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

George W. Bush has a plan that would allow people to put part of their Social Security tax into a personal retirement account, which they could then invest in the stock market. Al Gore opposes privatization. Regardless of who you talk to, any proposal that involves Social Security causes a lot of people to fear a loss of financial support after they retire.

When it comes to fear of not having enough money, there's a Bible story that can be instructive. It's about a woman who is widowed. Her deceased husband has left her with a large debt, and the only way to settle it would be for her two sons to be indentured to the creditor. That would leave her to starve. A man named Elisha gets the woman thinking about what resources she has in her house. There isn't much of value, except for a single pot of oil. But through her ability to recognize what she has and work with it, the oil is enlarged in quantity, to the point where she can sell enough of it to pay her debts and even have financial security for the future (see II Kings 4:1-7).

There are at least two points from this story that can serve us all well today. First, there was Elisha's certainty that even though she seemed desperate, the woman's resources were unlimited because they were from God. And second, there was the woman's trust in Elisha's certainty.

There's more to see about the basis of this certainty. The story is deeply symbolic. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy's primary work on our connection with God, has a list of qualities that this "biblical oil" represents: "Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration" (pg. 592). As spiritual qualities, these come from God and they are inexhaustible. We each have from God an unlimited supply of consecration, charity, gentleness, etc., which we can express at any time, in the interest of our own prosperity.

Today, we can come to understand our life and our wealth in terms of these spiritual qualities. We are each the very likeness of God, and we have the abundance of God. We have abundant love because "God is love" (I John 4:8). We have an endless supply of life because life is the expression of God. As we come to know of this spiritual supply of every good thing, we find that we have an easier time getting what we need to feel secure and cared for.

There was a point in my life when I could have put everything I owned into one suitcase. I made such a small salary that there wasn't even a need for a bank account. I was living in a rooming house.

On the surface, it seemed I had a real reason to feel sorry for myself. But instead I started to rely on God. I reasoned it out this way: "All that God is, I am, too, by reflection of Him. God is great, powerful, complete, harmonious, all-knowing, just, right, safe, and secure."

After having prayed like this for a time, I remember waking up one morning and being convinced that I was not poor - and would never feel poor again.

And it was true. I made progress in my job. Found my own place, established credit, and bought a new car. Opened a bank account. Not only that, I made great friends, traveled, and even earned a master's degree - all within two years. I can say today, 25 years later, that I still have a lot to learn about relying on God. But the progress continues. And more important, that feeling of security has never left me. God is right here with me, providing direction and answers to life's problems.

God is your source for everything that is good, and you are inheritor of it all because you are God's child. The Bible says that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). This describes your security, and you need never fear that circumstances can tamper with it.

Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people. II Chronicles 31:10

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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