Freely Give!

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

GIVING to others is one of life's greatest pleasures. Do you long to be able to give more than you do? We sometimes believe that restraints beyond our control limit our giving. We may feel God has given us a generous heart, but that we don't have the resources to fulfill our selfless desire to give.

We should treasure this generosity of thought and trustingly turn to God to show us the way to fulfill this prayerful longing to contribute to the betterment of mankind. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, refers to God as Mind when she writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind. Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they

take form in words and in deeds'' (p. 1).

If we think we need to give because we mistakenly believe that others are lacking, diseased, or grief-stricken, then our desires do need molding and exalting. How can we give unstintingly if our giving is restricted by sorrowful thoughts of another's penury?

The master Christian gave all that he had. But his riches were not earthly based. He possessed no bank account from which he could draw to feed the hungering and thirsting. And, of course, no amount of financing could have provided the healing of sickness and sin that he gave so freely.

Earthly riches are subject to monetary fluctuation, the rise and fall of a stock market, the stability of a nation or business, good or bad decisions. A fortune can rise and fall just as quickly as the mercury in a weather thermometer. On what, then, can our charitable desires be based, if the world's currency is so unreliable?

On God! God is All and all good. God is omnipresent Love. God is Life, and Life fills all space. He is substance, and that substance is perfect and enduring. Man is God's spiritual idea, inseparable from the divine Mind that created him. Never for one moment could God's idea be less than the reflection of God's infinite good. When we give, we must first have the generosity of spirit that sees man, both ourselves and others, as God made him--whole and complete--and then we will give wisely. As Go d's idea we will be giving from the storehouse of our spiritual completeness. This giving is Spirit-based, and infinite Spirit can never be depleted.

We can turn to the Bible to understand more about the unlimited source of good that Christ Jesus drew upon. First Corinthians tells us, ''Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God'' (2:12).

''The spirit which is of God''! That was the treasury from which the great Exemplar drew. The spirit of God enabled him to heal. It empowered him to raise the dead and restore a lunatic to his right mind. Jesus' mission was to show the world the unvarying and beneficent nature of the loving and good God, who made man in His perfect image and likeness, wholly spiritual.

And Jesus instructed us, his followers, to do the same. In Matthew's Gospel we read Jesus' command ''Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give'' (10:8).

We are commanded to give and to heal freely. Doesn't this command imply that any restraints on our giving are purely, and mistakenly, self-imposed? What God has commanded us to do we can do with the assurance that we have all the power, authority, and substance of our heavenly Father to back us up! The only collateral required to draw on this infinite resource for good is our wholehearted reliance on God. He bestows on us, His offspring, all we need to be effective and healing givers. We reflect fr om our Father wisdom, intelligence, honesty, purity, spiritual sense, perception, intuition, discernment, strength, harmony of thought, deed, and purpose. He gives us the authority and dominion to express these qualities and the spirit of joy with which to bestow them--freely.

God's enduring substance is ours freely for the asking and freely for the giving!

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