Bills and gratitude

What do you do when there is a huge pile of bills and only a very limited amount of money in the bank? This was the picture facing me several years ago when I was first married. As earnest Christians, my wife and I knew it was right to pay these debts, but when it came down to writing the checks, we were overcome with frustration and fear. Right then and there we began to pray, each in his own way, acknowledging the fact that God is the great and only giver, and that what He bestows on us, His children, is wholly good; an unrestricted, bountiful, impartial outpouring of blessings.

''What are you actually doing when you pay legitimate bills?'' I reasoned. ''Acknowledging good received through products and services. Can this ever be a debilitating experience? No. It is enriching. In a sense, the more good that is perceived and appreciated, the more our experiencing of good expands and grows.''

With this change to a more enlightened, spiritual standpoint came a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness; one that continues to develop. It was a milestone in my life and a contributing factor to a more adequate sense of personal income.

Gratitude, which we might describe as a conscious awareness of good, does not originate in us. Its source is Almighty God, the creator and maintainer of all that is real and good. ''God saw every thing that he had made,'' the Scriptures tell us, ''and, behold, it was very good.'' n1

n1 Genesis 1:31.

What is it that would blind us to the presence of good? What would claim to keep demand out of proportion to supply?

Perhaps it could be best termed as a limited, materialistic outlook on identity and being. According to the Scriptures, God is Spirit. It follows, then , that His creation, including man, is totally spiritual, unlimited by materiality. Despite what appears to the senses, our true selfhood expresses the nature of our Maker, and the Divine Being is infinite good; He doesn't include lack or any form of evil. Persistently claiming this fact, and realizing more and more that it is truth, brings good results. ''The thoughts of the diligent, '' the book of Proverbs tells us, ''tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.'' n2

n2 Proverbs 2:15.

It was Christ Jesus' spiritual understanding of being, of God's allness and goodness, that enabled him to transcend a restrictive, material sense of supply and demand. As many of us may recall, the Master fed thousands with what appeared to be a scant amount of food. At another time he sent one of his disciples fishing in order to obtain needed tax money from a fish's mouth.

From the standpoint of spiritual reality, man, the reflection of God, doesn't function or exist in a state of deprivation. Our provision, then, is as close to us as spiritually uplifted thought, thought that perceives man's inseparability from the Giver of all good. To attain this perception may, at times, be no easy task. But through persistent prayer and pure, Christly living we'll be successful, and we'll find our needs cared for.

With comforting reassurance Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Wholly apart from this mortal dream, this illusion and delusion of sense, Christian Science comes to reveal man as God's image, His idea, coexistent with Him - God giving all and man having all that God gives.'' n3

n3 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany. p. 5

''God giving all and man having all that God gives.'' The realization of this truth makes paying bills an opportunity to express gratitude. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. Psalms 35:27

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