The lilies of the field
CHRIST Jesus met a lot of people as he went about teaching and healing. Most of them were poor, and he showed great love and compassion for them, assuring them of God's unfailing care. He gave tangible proof of this when he multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the hungry multitude, but he also gently taught people how to begin to help themselves by greater trust in God's infinite provision for His creation. Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount: ``Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?''1
Sometimes in large, crowded, modern cities the lilies of the field may not seem very relevant. But what Jesus said about them touches on a timeless point about individual place and purpose.
Do we think of ourselves as needy mortals, eking out a precarious existence and always in competition with one another? We don't have to. We can see ourselves instead as individual, spiritual expressions of God, integral to His creation, maintained and supported by divine Love, and necessarily complementing instead of competing with our fellow beings.
This is the foundation on which Jesus' teachings and healing works were based. This spiritual standpoint helps us to go forward confidently, expecting our needs to be met, not at someone else's expense but as part of God's all-inclusive care for each of us.
My husband and I had proof of this once when we returned from overseas and needed an apartment at a time when there was an acute shortage of this kind of accommodation. The morning after we arrived I went into the office of a real estate agent. He was on the telephone reassuring a client because the tenant he had found for her apparently proved unsatisfactory. When he turned to me I said, ``You can let me have the apartment you have just been talking about.'' He was rather taken aback at first but agreed to let me see the apartment. The owner was going abroad the following day and wanted to get things settled before she left. I went along to see the apartment, liked what I saw, signed the lease, and we moved in straightway.
So our need was met, and the landlord's need was met, too, and the apartment was fully utilized. To us this wasn't just a happy coincidence but an instance of the demonstrable order of both individual and collective experience when seen from a spiritual standpoint. And this same truth can be appealed to in situations that may seem much bigger and more intractable.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.''2 These words are under the marginal heading ``Inexhaustible divine Love.''
The first need is usually for trust in the power of inexhaustible divine Love. This trust reassures and strengthens doubting human thought and makes it responsive instead of demanding. Then the way opens up naturally for the details of the particular need to be met appropriately and completely.
Man, as the image of divine Love, God, is both Love's expression and the recipient of Love's care. Each individual who understands this can begin to prove it and, in proving it, will make the practicality of God's love that much more apparent for others as well.
1Matthew 6:28-30. 2Science and Health, p. 494.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:6,7