When we talked about personal finance, my father-in-law used to chuckle ruefully and say that every time he'd just about managed to make ends meet, they moved! For many of us, the economic necessities of caring for our families, managing car and house payments, and satisfying those all-too-seductive credit cards can be a burden.
Most people I know aren't CEOs or film stars with lavish lifestyles and huge salaries. We're all hard at work, sometimes just surviving from paycheck to paycheck. One commentary discussed the increasing pressures on the middle class and worried about the growing disparity between the extremes of wealth and poverty in the United States. In terms of purchasing power some families have fallen from where they were 20 years ago and are in danger of dropping into poverty.
I've found it useful to remember that God, our Father-Mother, has always been and always will be the source of good. We're the offspring of this Source, God's image and likeness, so we must reflect Godlike qualities in our daily lives. God isn't like a large turtle that lays lots of eggs and then trundles off, leaving her offspring to hatch, scramble, and fend for themselves in a cruel and uncaring world. He cares for us, and we can perceive this care acting in our lives.
Jesus showed God's capacity to care in two instances of feeding multitudes with what appeared to be enough food for just a few people. After giving thanks, Jesus told his disciples to distribute the food, and there was more than enough for all. Both of these instances appear in three of the four Gospels, so they must have been riveting experiences for his followers.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, – Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 206). Prayer that takes us deep into Spirit and our spiritual resources, can break the dream that we're tied down by a too-small paycheck. How does one get to this point? Sometimes all it takes is sunlight on a leaf.
One summer day, while taking my dog for a walk, I was impressed with the beauty around me – the sunlight streaming down, illuminating leaves without number. To me every leaf stood for an idea of God, a unique expression of form, color, and outline. Each had a purpose. Because each leaf contributed to the woods' beauty, each one was good. We're always surrounded and supported by God's ideas, each one unique, good, and beautiful. They're without number and benefit everyone equally. It was a powerful lesson for me about God's abundant love for creation. In that moment, I understood that my family and I were safe, cared for by the loving and generous Father-Mother. I felt I was standing on holy ground.
When I returned home, the phone rang. Our daughter had been awarded a scholarship to a fine school, making this educational opportunity within our grasp. A small but significant experience for me. I'd been wondering how we were going to help our daughter. That short walk in the woods had shown me that God was helping and I just needed to turn to Him.
Understanding God as Spirit, the only and inexhaustible substance of all good, can bring security from economic downturns, downsizing, and spiraling costs. All these challenges are based on fear of limited resources, of markets out of control, or of few prospects for career advancement. But divine Spirit's unlimited love naturally brings unlimited possibilities to light.
This doesn't mean that a huge trust fund will magically appear to support a fabulous lifestyle. After all, Jesus didn't change the loaves and fishes into a seven-course banquet! He showed that our spiritual resources – God's abundant flow of ideas – when discerned through the lens of gratitude for His abundant love, fully meet our present needs.