I'll always remember my Argentine friend, Magdalena. A retired professor who hadn't married, she seemed to be enjoying one endless spiritual jubilee.
When, as often as we could, a couple of friends and I visited her in her simple apartment almost directly over a major commuter rail line that ran into Buenos Aires, we happily laughed and joked from morning to night, interrupted only by the deafening sound of passing trains.
This woman had life. This woman also had abundance. One of the ways to say "retire" in Spanish is jubilarse - related to the English verb "to jubilate" or "to rejoice." And she certainly was in a state of jubilation. She thought of God as her Father - the richest Father in the whole world. And it seemed that her purpose in life was to share His overflowing wealth.
How comforting is the conviction that God is meeting her, and everyone's, needs. But if you're living on a fixed income, lack may seem almost inevitable.
A favorite Bible story of mine emphasizes that good flows from God, and so is inexhaustible. It's the account of a man who wants Jesus to make the man's brother share his inheritance with him. Jesus refuses to do this and then warns against trusting in a buildup of goods as if that were true wealth.
He then reminds the listener and reader that God feeds the ravens, who don't have storehouses; he clothes the grass of the field with gorgeous lilies; and he cares for each of us. He says that we shouldn't worry and be afraid, but that as we seek God's kingdom, we see that all our needs are met. (See Luke 12:13-32.)
To seek God's kingdom is to have an understanding and a childlike trust that God is providing for us. In this kingdom, God's love for each is infinite and unconditional. Because He is our loving Parent, it's never His will that we be in want. In fact, His spiritual law requires that we have all good.
The law of God's infinite goodness is always present - just like the laws governing electricity are always present. But in order for one to see the practical effects of that law, one has to apply it. An important part of this is recognizing the good that we already have.
Conscious gratitude opens our eyes to our present blessings and so makes us receptive to see and receive even more good. When Jesus fed more than 4,000 people with seven loaves and a few fish, he first thanked God (see Matt. 15: 32-38).
The reason we turn to God is all-important. While it's certainly right to be able to pay the rent and have enough food, I've observed that to the degree my life has been oriented to helping others, good has come to me to allow me to do so. I've found the following statement from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy to be true: "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good" (p. 518).
Gratitude and selflessness take us beyond worry and lack to discover God's fixed income of infinite good for each of us.
The Lord shall guide thee
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:
and thou shalt be like
a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.