Economics and spirituality

OUTWARDLY, the issue seems to be an economic one -- increasing numbers of low-paid workers at the bottom, well-compensated executives at the top, and a diminishing middle class. The concern about income is a valid one. Yet if it alone dominates our thinking, it could blind us to new opportunities. What opportunities? The ones that come when we stop thinking of life simply in terms of how much money we have, or don't have, and start opening our thought to the reality of God, infinite Spirit.

Consider Christ Jesus' feeding of five thousand people with a few loaves and fishes.1 If he had looked only at the amount of food present, he could never have done it. Instead, he looked to God, and the result was what people often term a miracle.

Jesus was the Way-shower, and his works are unparalleled. Yet following his teachings, we can prove the power of God in our own lives, even if in modest degree.

In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, ``Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.''2 The New English Bible's translation of this passage reads, ``How blest are those who know their need of God; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.'' So the Master wasn't talking about an economic condition as much as a spiritual one -- a state of trusting dependence on God.

While there's nothing wrong with practical planning for our needs, it's equally valid not to think that the limits imposed by material resources are what truly govern our lives. Jesus referred to God as his Father, and taught that God is our Father too. This Father loves us; He is, in fact, described in the Bible as Love itself.3 And we can trust Him to care for us. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.''4

We can experience more of this ``tender relationship'' as we are willing to think of our lives as more dependent on God than on material conditions. Here's a small example.

Not long ago my car broke down about a mile before I got it to the garage. The mechanic said extensive repairs were needed, possibly costing as much as $1500. Since I had delayed repairing the car because I was short of money, I was desperate. So I prayed.

To begin, I gave thanks for all the good I could see in what had happened: the car had broken down in a place where I could coast to the side safely instead of while I was going at full speed on the expressway; a friend had towed the car to the garage and was driving me to work; the car was now in the hands of an honest and competent mechanic.

This helped me to feel more confident of God's care. I also prayed to understand God as the one Mind, in total control of His universe. I prayed to realize that His impartial law of good would become evident in my experience in exactly the way that was needed. I was encouraged when the mechanic found that the repairs could be done for about half of his original estimate.

I then realized that I needed to move beyond gratitude for things I could see to my actual spiritual relationship to God. For example, Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, teaches that man is God's image, totally inseparable from Him. And I knew that in truth I was this man; that as God's spiritual likeness, always with Him, I could never be separated from good and that I could expect to see evidence of this truth in my experience.

As I prayed in this way, two things happened. The first was that a check for some work I had done came earlier than anticipated. The second was that a friend unexpectedly offered to lend me the rest of the money I needed.

Was I grateful? You bet! It may have been a small experience. But it did help me to feel God's presence in my life while also meeting my need for transportation to work.

If you are in need, these truths about the spiritual nature of existence can help you too.

1See Matthew 14:14-21. 2Matthew 5:3. 3See I John 4:16. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

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