Twice in my professional career I was with successful companies that would have provided me "once in a lifetime" financial benefits- had I remained with them.
The first time, I left my job because I felt duty-bound to serve in the armed services. The company later merged with a larger firm, which resulted in substantial gains for employees. Then, after my retirement, my former employer expanded into a new, prosperous venture. In both jobs, my successors reaped enviable financial benefits. So, it's probable that had I been a bit older in the first instance, or younger in the second, I'd be a wealthier individual today.
Recently I was reflecting on my business history with a friend. And I was amazed to realize that no feeling of resentment or of having been unlucky had ever lodged in my thought regarding those circumstances. Why? Because I had gained the understanding that God was what mattered; His beneficence is ample for all, including me, and it is continuous!
Where did my faith and assurance come from? Two books are responsible-the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science over a hundred years ago, and studying it has blessed me with very real benefits for well over a half-century. Christian Science can assure any inquiring mind that God is good and that His goodness has no beginning or ending.
The Bible's message is beautiful and practical. Science and Health provides explanations of the Bible that will help and heal anyone who welcomes that message into his or her thought. This is all regardless of one's present circumstances. Whether a problem appears to be financial, physical, or mechanical, spiritual understanding provides practical answers.
The life of Christ Jesus set the example for Christians to live by. Nowhere in the Bible do we read that he lacked anything. Even when he was young, Jesus was in the service of God, giving evidence of complete trust in God's provision. He lived simply, but not stingily; he had a seamless robe, ate regularly, and never lacked transportation or shelter. He knew that he was the Son of God (as you and I are sons and daughters of God). As a son inherits a father's wealth, God's children are recipients of their Father's largess.
Jesus spoke a parable that provides a case in point (see Luke, chap. 15). A young man took his portion of his father's inheritance and squandered it. But his father welcomed him home with forgiveness. His older brother was so preoccupied with his repentant brother's homecoming reception, that he overlooked the fact that his own heritage was intact. In Bible times the elder son received two thirds of the father's estate; the younger got one third. Even though the junior brother had wasted his portion, the senior had had his all the time. But a limited outlook can be blinding, and all the older son could see was that his brother had been treated better than he might have expected.
In presenting this parable, Jesus pointed out the perpetual need for us to understand that God's provision is infinite for all His children all the time.
Motivated by love for others, Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye [we] shall ask in prayer, believing, ye [we] shall receive" (Matt. 21:22). To me this says you and I are already included in this inheritance-right now-and don't have to wait for blessings.
Science and Health gives simple but profound elaboration on that fact. It asks, "Are we really grateful for the good already received?" And it goes on to say, "Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more" (p. 3). The implication is that every blessing is at hand for those who recognize God to be the source of their provision. Then there is no deprivation, no waiting period, no worry for tomorrow.
While the thought of monetary wealth has its allure, the wealth of ideas found in the study of the Bible and Science and Health comes daily. Our lives can be rich and profitable, no matter what the circumstances of our birth, and no matter where the past has taken us.