THERE was a fellow student in my primary school class whose prospects didn't look too good. When I bumped into him a few years after we had graduated from high school, however, he had a job in a field that he loved.
Much later I found out that the teacher who had taught us both in our early years had fought a hard battle behind the scenes to ensure a place for him in a special school she felt would enable him to fare better. From that time onward he had progressed continuously. An individual had cared. And you have only to know the person now to whom that caring made a difference to know why caring counts!
Each of us may have a battle with subtle and pervasive mental arguments that would keep us from caring. One of these is the feeling that our contribution can't make that much of a difference. This belief is rebuked in the Bible by Christ Jesus' comment about a widow's mite. He sees a poor widow put all the money she has into the Temple treasury. Though her donation is minute, Jesus indicates that her gift achieved much more than the numerically greater giving of those who had ample resources: ``This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury'' (Mark 12:43). It was the sincerity of the widow's willingness to give all she had that the Master celebrated. To me his comment indicates that what counts is that we are giving whatever we do have to offer in the way of caring for others.
It was Christ--the spiritual idea of God--that gave Jesus this incisive comprehension of the relative value of human care. He knew the benchmark of the divine standard of care, God's unconditional care for all His children.
Ultimately, all care is spiritual care, God's care for us as His beloved offspring. And man--whom the Bible reveals to be the image and likeness of God--exists and acts under the authority of God's perfect purpose and plan. This includes the divine demand for us to express active care and love for one another. We are, therefore, in our natural element when we are caring, because to do so is to respond to divine Love's, God's, direction. The boundless potential for care found in God's infinite affection and compassion means that we can progressively yield to an impartial expression of care for all, praying to perceive how to do so in inspired and appropriate ways. Such a prayerful devotion to responding to the needs of others is met by an increasing authority to do so fruitfully.
The human mind--what the Bible calls the carnal mind-- paints quite a different picture. It veers between harboring a hardened, uncaring heart and grudgingly admitting to a limited capacity for a narrow and parochial caring. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes the attitude of this limited, personal sense of caring this way in her Miscellaneous Writings: ``Who should care for everybody? It is enough, say they, to care for a few.'' She continues, however, ``Yet the good done, and the love that foresees more to do, stimulate philanthropy and are an ever-present reward'' (p. 238).
An increasingly universal care evidences the coming to light of true, spiritual thinking and proves the invalidity of the carnal mind's limited view. Prayerfully gaining more of this spiritual consciousness does bring the reward of rejoicing in the good done and in embodying the love that joys to see more to do. It only takes one thing to reap such holy rewards--the willingness to care actively!