In these inflationary times, whether or not we need a particular object sometimes becomes almost less important to the decision to buy than the fact that its price is rising.
Yesterday this column discussed how mankind's sense of wages is in many ways frozen by limited material concepts. The same is true for prices, and with the same result -- our appreciation of God's affluent love for man is constricted.
The prices we should be giving more attention to are the prices of divine Truth. Not that we should ignore the need to help keep prices of goods and services at a reasonable level.But we need to reach higher than the human realm. If the demands of divine Truth were heeded more and the fear- or greed-instilling prices of matter less, we'd see not only a tangible decrease in inflation but an increase in the capacity, intelligence, mutual affection, and ingenuity of people in general that would touch every corner of the world.
Certain people in history have realized the higher economy of the divine Spirit and have lived lives richer than most of us, richer in very tangible ways. Christ Jesus is the most obvious example. What he had in the way of truth, love, wisdom, gave him bounty enough not only for himself but for others as well, to enrich their lives with health, energy, morality, right action.
But the price he had to pay! He had to give up belief in any life or intelligence in matter. God had to be his very Life and being, his Father. He had to meet sin and sickness on their turf and prove their powerlessness. Because of his stand, he suffered mental and physical torture, as well as death. Yet he overcame them all.
And something else was demanded of him. He had to keep a keen sense of his Father's presence. Certainly his profound spiritual sense of his was not easily defended. He had at times to battle mightily against the pressure of the world to come down and be one of the crowd.
He paid the cost of a life lived richly. And in doing so he showed us how to pay it.
But where do we get the means to pay the price -- a price that may seem terribly out of reach? Jesus told us where. He said to one young man who had all the material goods he needed and was admirably moral besides, "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." n1
n1 Mark 10:21;
Perhaps, Jesus was asking him not so much to get rid of material possessions as to give up material traits of character, those things we all so readily hang on to and even fight for -- laziness, satisfaction with matter, dishonesty, apathy. He told him to sell them -- get something in return. Get inspiration, love for his fellowman, purity, and integrity. Give these to the poor, those that beg for a more enlightened sense of existence. And follow Jesus: Be willing to pay continually for the privilege of being a true Christian.
So in practical terms, if you want to buy a house, you have essentially to pay the price of Truth, not of inflated money. You have to sell possessions that make your life material -- greed, dreaminess, fear -- and get inspiration and spiritual energy and satisfaction in God and in loving man. Then you'll understand your real home in Truth and find it realized in your life, as well as the means to pay for it.
We may think in desperate moments that only paying the prices of inflated matter will bring peace. But paying the price of Truth is harder -- and more rewarding. It will lift us above the tar pits of self-pity and fear to substance, health, rest, life.
Mary Baker Eddy n2 gives a sober admonishment to humanity: "Seek Truth, and pursue it. It should cost you something: you are willing to pay for error and receive nothing in return; but if you pay the price of Truth, you shall receive allm ." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 342.
To plunge through the fear-frozen surface of material life to the depths of spiritual abundance requires courage and vision. But to the degree that we do it, the security of our future and that of all mankind will be assured.