ISN'T that a loaded question? Who couldn't use more income! Recently I entered a new profession that consisted entirely of private practice. In the initial stages this professional pursuit required huge chunks of time with little income in return.
At such times, it might be usual to start looking for quick income -- maybe a part-time job or something that could be sold. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, I've been learning to think of income a little differently: as a flow of ideas. As a result, when I have needed more income, it has been natural for me to turn wholeheartedly to God in prayer first. Invariably, I've found, this results not only in unexpected new sources of income but in activities where my skills can benefit others.
Prayer is, of course, a solution that's available to everyone equally. But there is nothing ``instant'' or easy about it. While the results may be rapid or slow, prayer always demands that we grow in our understanding of what God is -- of His allness and great goodness. Such prayer also results in our understanding ourselves better as the beloved child of God's care.
If we need more income, then, prayer indeed can help. But the way in which this happens might be quite surprising.
The Psalmist assures us of God's goodness when he says, ``How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.''1 Many people would agree with the idea of a benevolent God. But it can be tempting at times to picture God as a ``Big Daddy'' up there who glances down, notices some hardworking soul with a need, and then plops a sudden bequest before him. God's goodness, however, is much more dependable than this view would imply! Since God is infinite Spirit, His love works as a spiritual law. And since God's creation, including man, is spiritual, man's existence is spiritually sustained. As we understand more fully the fact that we ourselves are God's children, complete now and spiritually supplied, we'll find ourselves less fearful that our income will be inadequate. And as we continue to explore this spiritual view, we'll begin discovering the new ideas that bring us needed income.
God's provision for man is actually in spiritual ideas. While these ideas won't necessarily tell us how to ``make more money,'' they will tell us about our own worth and productiveness as God's offspring. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies.''2
I grew to love this statement in my own case because I saw it work so dramatically. Within a year of committing myself to my new profession, an activity for which I had been trained in college, and which was directly related to my new profession, grew into a service that was of good use to others. It also provided steady income for my family. In addition, another, totally unforeseen, activity developed in which I could use the highly specialized skills of my new profession to help others.
Although income isn't exactly pouring in now, it is adequate and steadily increasing. And I continue to listen for those spiritual ideas that will lead to daily supply.
As you might expect, the income isn't my main or only concern anymore. It's this daily, prayerful attention to what God is communicating to me that takes my attention now. It takes work to discern the ideas that God sends, and to apply them to my life. But the work of learning of God's nature as truly infinite, yet very close and caring, brings the income we really need.
1Psalms 36:7. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307.