Whether we have millions or a pittance, we are all in charge of certain resources. How do we handle them?
Current economic conditions challenge most of us to call on all the wisdom we can muster in our spending, saving, investing, and simple survival. Christ Jesus gives us wonderful guidelines in all these practical matters. He always had a sufficiency, because he realized that his loving Father-Mother, God, was the inexhaustible source of all good. He had tax money gathered from a fish's mouth, fed multitudes with a handful of provisions, wore a seamless robe, and prepared a morning breakfast of fish before the catch was in.
Because the Master served God continuously, he had perfect confidence in God's care always, under every circumstance - even on the cross.
Isn't this a clue for us? To what extent do we trust God? How much gratitude do we have for the good already at hand? What are our priorities? How well do we husband our resources and exercise foresight?
Jesus gave his followers a thought-provoking illustration along these lines: ''Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?'' n1
n1 Luke 14:28.
A credit-card psychology would sometimes tempt us to believe that postponing obligations will make them go away. But credit cards can be useful only as we use them, rather than letting them use us by making us subject to wishful thinking or self-deception.
During a period of financial strain, I caught a glimpse of spiritual truth that brought solutions at the time and has inspired me ever since. Jesus once said to his disciples, ''Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'' n2 (Other translations indicate ''bind'' as meaning forbid or prohibit and ''loose'' as meaning allow or permit.)
n2 Matthew 18:18.
As I pondered this passage, I saw that I should loose, or allow, in thought what was ''in heaven'' - that is, spiritual truths, not material beliefs. Spiritual truths, such as God's infinite giving of infinite good, act as law to bind, to forbid and prohibit, mortal misconceptions, such as loss or lack. As we let good expand in our thought, it expands in our experience. As we refuse to allow error to grow in our thought, it shrinks in our experience.
I also saw that legitimate restriction - binding - is God's, Truth's, restriction of error of every kind. Abundance restricts poverty, because God, the source of all real affluence, is Spirit, and Spirit is infinite. Spirit, God , can't conceive of, cause, or know lack. The claim of either affluence or poverty in or of matter, then, is a false claim. Real abundance is spiritual.
To the extent, therefore, that we refuse, through prayer and obedience, to allow fear, morbid thinking, self-pity, and so on into consciousness, the effects of these errors will be kept out of our experience. And as we give expression to gratitude, wisdom, love, diligence, the effect of these virtues will appear in our lives.
These insights made me examine my motives, habits, and daily procedures. In turn, the inspiration led to a much more active obedience to ''God's Requirement ,'' as stated by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in the Manual of the Mother Church: ''God requires wisdom, economy, and brotherly love to characterize all the proceedings of the members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist.'' n3 Sound financial advice!
n3 Manual, Art. XXIV, Sect. 5.
In applying this advice, we can see that brotherly love excludes greed or miserliness. Economy rules out careless spending. And who of us can do without the wisdom that cherishes good, shares it wisely, and nurtures its honest growth? As we cherish, share, and nurture spiritual good, we will be exercising spiritual control. Our binding and loosing - our entertaining of what is true in heaven - will be effective on earth. DAILY BIBLE VERSE . . . there shall be showers of blessing. Ezekiel 34:26