Love Enriches

WHEN a caring parent lifts a spoon to an infant's mouth, he or she does not generally count the times or wonder how long it will be until some of the food doesn't run back out and have to be taken off the baby's chin. This is because that kind of parent is impelled by unselfish love, and love is something that doesn't diminish when we express it. In fact, when we recognize that our ability to love is God-given, we see that we have an inexhaustible "lifetime supply. The reward is the joy of providing for one's child and of selfless giving. Sometimes, of course, impatience does occur in a situation like that. But isn't that because we've been distracted from perceiving this lifetime supply of love or have failed to rely on it? The instant one realizes this, the strength and certainty of love can flood into thought and wash out impatience or frustration with the tenderness that is natural to God's children. Love--which provides without thought of remuneration, supplies needs without counting the cost, volunteers to help and finds joy in it--is one of the most winning of human characteristics. Expressing love, the individual thinks and desires to assist, to further endeavors, to promote goodness when no boss has commanded it and when profit or personal gain is not involved. At its best, our love is an expression of our understanding of God, who is divine Love, as Christ Jesus' life illustrated. In the Bible, I John expresses it succinctly in these words: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Coming to know something of divine Love is approaching the heart of Christianity. Here we learn of God's infinite care for man, of God creating man spiritually to be eternal and incorruptible, not mortal and debased. Learning of our relationship to God, we are liberated from the belief that we can do just so much on someone's behalf before we are used up and have no more to give. When we see that it is not really we that are giving, but divine Love which we reflect, we know that there is no cutoff poi nt to the resources we can offer for good. I have often found this useful in teaching. For example, when grading papers late at night, I have sometimes felt weary and inclined to shorten commentary or explanation. But I have discovered that stopping to realize the presence of divine Love, and Love's purpose of nurturing and cherishing, supplies the energy and purpose needed to keep working in the most helpful way. It is Love that includes, giving the sense of belonging, contributing, supporting, enhancing, cooperating. Love arranges the harmonious relationships of things and individuals, showing us how best to produce mutually beneficial associations, just as each petal, sepal, and stamen helps form the whole in the exquisite working organization of a flower. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us. Fortified by Love, and knowing that our efforts, when rightly directed, are sustained by God, we are able to act with greater ease and with greater benefit for all. We keep in view the end point of expressing Love and are not lost in details of the day. We are more effective because we are closer to God's love, at hand and available to man.

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