Right motives and real estate

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

According to, housing starts reached a 17-year low in December with no sign that there will be a big improvement soon. In addition, defaults and foreclosures from sub-prime and other mortgage borrowers have added to the distress people are feeling. Many people fear they will lose their homes.

There are no easy answers, but one thing is sure: God loves each of us and would never send anything that would harm us. But sometimes it takes a while to figure out how that love is working in our individual lives.

Here's an example. Two business partners bought a property as an investment. They planned to tear down the existing structure, build a nice new home, and sell it for a good profit. At the time, the real estate market was hot, and one of the men had a great record in developing undervalued property. What could go wrong?

Well, they ran into problems and a year later, the building was finished, but not selling, and the second partner was footing the bill for the mortgage.

So often our success is determined by our motives. This man's original motive was mostly to get a nice, quick financial return rather than to create a terrific home for someone. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but he began to feel a change in perspective was needed.

It's never too late to start over in thought, to purify motives, to abandon the personal, willful desires that tend to obscure God's perfect, loving design for everyone. So he began to reason from a more unselfish, spiritual standpoint.

First, he spent time valuing his financial partner – the man's high ethical standards and dedication to excellence, his generosity toward workers, eye for design, use of high-quality materials, and expert craftsmanship. Such qualities, he realized, are an expression of God, everyone's loving Creator.

Besides seeing the good in his partner, the man perceived the good in the work they had done: The outdated property they'd bought had been razed, and a beautiful new building erected; this helped improve the neighborhood. Then it occurred to him that somewhere, at that very moment, just the right buyer was looking for his or her new home at a fair price, and it was ready. That brought to mind Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, which includes this promise: "I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality" (II Cor. 8:13-14).

At this point the man realized he was thinking in a very different way about the property. He was no longer in it just for the money. Instead, he was now confident that God was in complete control of the situation, and that His plan included only good for all involved. Pure motives naturally lead to harmonious unfolding of events.

On the Sunday following this change in thought, the man's telephone rang at home. Even before his wife handed him the phone, he knew what had happened. Sure enough, after all this time, someone had seen the house as their new home and had made a fair offer. They soon had a deal.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, stated, "The predisposing and exciting cause of all defeat and victory under the sun, rests on this scientific basis: that action, in obedience to God, spiritualizes man's motives and methods, and crowns them with success; while disobedience to this divine Principle materializes human modes and consciousness, and defeats them" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," pp. 267-268).

The lesson this man learned about entering any projects, including investments, with the right motive can be applied to the market today. Thoughts and actions that emanate from pure intentions have a solid base from which to prosper and bless all involved.

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