THINGS can get pretty hectic with two small children. One day, though, right in the middle of everything, I thought of Christ Jesus' words ``Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?'' ``Well,'' I thought, ``I can't just let the kids go hungry!'' But I did promise myself to set aside a little more time for the cultivation of spiritual graces -- just as soon as.... Funny thing, though -- I never ran out of work.
I did find a few spare minutes to get the Bible out and look up that passage from Matthew. Further along I read: ``Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.''
Food and clothes are pretty basic necessities, and I've always taken for granted that I have an obligation to provide them for my children. As I thought about the Bible verses, I wondered where I was supposed to be able to fit in this life that's more than meat and raiment. I took one more look at that Bible passage and two words stood out: first and added. It occurred to me that Christ Jesus wasn't saying to fit God in somewhere between the chores. He was saying that putting God first is the solution, not an added responsibility.
So I tried. It wasn't easy. But the more I prayed, the more I could see the value in it. I was learning to see more clearly that God is Spirit, and that everything He makes must have a spiritual basis and spiritual substance. Man, as Spirit's creation, is spiritual. So what would his most basic needs be? Spiritual man is dependent upon spiritual nourishment -- the understanding of God, of Truth and Love; and on spiritual garments -- holiness, righteousness, humility, and other spiritual graces.
That doesn't mean we should do away with meals. It means we can put these things into perspective when we put God, Spirit, first in our lives. Spiritual understanding is more essential to our daily health and well-being than anything else, but being sure we -- and our children -- put learning about God first doesn't mean that we'll end up deprived of human life's basic necessities. Prayer, worship, obedience to the Ten Commandments on a daily basis, are literally indispensable. The Discoverer and Founde r of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, ``...so long as we have the right ideal, life is worth living and God takes care of our life.''
First thing the next morning I took time to really study the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy, not as a ceremony but as a means of drawing my day near to God's direction. During the day, I found that while my hands were busy doing the usual work, my heart was insisting that man is spiritual, completely cared for by divine Spirit; that Spirit is feeding him with the understanding of Truth and Love; that Spirit clothes him in beauty and holiness. Everybody g ot fed and bathed and clothed with time to spare. They also got more -- more love, more patience, more understanding. And I got more too -- more satisfaction, more joy, more strength.
I'd never say, ``I don't have time to get breakfast for the children; they'll have to go hungry.'' Yet time with God -- studying, praying, the quiet cultivation of spiritual understanding -- is an even more basic need. And the wonderful thing is, when we take care of the spiritual needs first, the feeding and clothing that we also need follow naturally, in their proper place, and we all get more out of life.