NOT too many years ago our family was struggling with a financial problem. We had sold a house with some orchard property to a family. Subsequent events made us wonder if we had been rash in the decision to carry the contract ourselves. Annual payments were made for quite a few years. Then they ceased, just at the time when we had started a new adventure, farming. We were planning on using the regular payments for improvements on the new place, but the lack of funds stopped that. I began to feel cheated.
Although we certainly had a legal avenue for demanding compensation, I wanted something more, and not of a financial nature. The mistrust of others I'd begun to have was not going to disappear with monetary gain. I wanted healing, a regenerated view of myself and my fellowman, including the buyers.
Study of the Bible encouraged me to understand God as the source of everything worth having and lasting. This all-knowing God, the Parent of us all, was always supplying our and everyone's urgent and less-than-urgent needs. After all, He is not only all-just but all-wise and all-loving-the Giver of all good. When I understood God to be Spirit, it could only follow that our supply must be spiritual.
This at first seemed altogether too abstract. Could the utilization of spiritual ideas-like unselfishness, forgiveness, patience, expectancy of good-bring a tangible result? Could they help with our farm?
Mary Baker Eddy, the author of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, writes, "In the Science of Christianity, Mind-omnipotence-has all-power, assigns sure rewards to righteousness, and shows that matter can neither heal nor make sick, create nor destroy" (p. 203). Righteousness is an indication of spirituality. The approach to true mental home improvement! It is right to be honest, forgiving, and patient. Therefore the living of these qualities must bring "sure rewards."
First, I noticed that it became more fun to work together as a family. Then a kindness welled up in us that expanded to our neighbors. Expressing generosity to others was a help in my attempt to forgive the "debtor" family. I considered it not my obligation but a joy. In Luke in the Bible, the master Christian, Christ Jesus, promised, "Give, and it shall be given unto you" (6:38). It was getting more and more difficult to feel we had made a mistake when so much love was being felt and expressed.
Utter consolation came when I pondered the Lord's Prayer. In Matthew, Jesus told us to pray "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (6:12). I realized this doesn't mean to give up expecting a rightful reimbursement so much as the necessity of giving up a false sense of man. The desire on another's part to pay a debt was as right as was the desire on my part to forgive.
Next I went to God in prayer in regard to our decision to carry the contract on the property we'd sold. Realizing that I do not exist to make myself look good in others' eyes but only to glorify God, I began watching what I promised and guarding against promises with self-centered motives or boasting at their base.
This prayer was purifying my thought and my goals. I was no longer trying to figure out what I thought the buyers should or shouldn't do in regard to the loan. During the second year of nonpayment they told us they were trying to work something out. I was never tempted to offer my personal advice or to threaten. I was giving up the lie that God's man is either dishonest, irresponsible, or uncaring. God, Spirit, being ever present and the Father of us all, dearly loves and motivates each of His children. It became more natural to trust Spirit to initiate the right action. The money owed ceased to be a concern.
Another year rolled by without our being paid. In fact, it was at this point that I first wrote up the experience for publication in this space in gratitude for what I'd learned of the sure rewards of our gracious Father's provision for us. I was asked to wait for a full healing resolution of the financial situation. Two weeks after I had sent the article in, we received the entire amount owed, with interest for late payments.