Another paradigm for commerce

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

A lot has been written lately about the state of the economy and capital markets, with an emphasis on the alternating states of fear and greed that appear to have been dominating the global financial markets. If those two emotions were the only ones at work in the economy, we would never be able find a stable solution in these turbulent times. Both presuppose a state of competition for limited supplies, and both keep us from seeing the spiritual resources that God is providing for us each day.

What are these resources – and how can we obtain them? They become apparent as we learn more of God's love for all of us, and as we embrace Christ. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, described "Christ" in this way: "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 332). Fear and greed certainly aren't part of that divine message.

When we adopt a Christly attitude, which promotes gratitude, blessing, and healing, we're aligning ourselves with infinite good. The conviction of God's power will support the discovery of solutions to the challenges on Wall Street and in individual businesses and households on Main Street.

This kind of thinking requires a shift in focus from the economic bedlam presented in the media to a model that is God-centered. Get-rich-quick thinking and its inevitable counterpart, get-poor-quick results, need to be set aside. Instead of speculation and boom-and-bust cycles, we gain prayerful confidence in God's ongoing development of good. This focus on continuous good is based in God. It isn't about building giant bank accounts. Instead, it gives another paradigm for commerce, one which encourages the circulation of good, the reward for and encouragement of productive and beneficial ideas.

Ideas may seem abstract, when we're dealing with things that appear so concrete as foreclosures, derivatives, and the credit crunch. But the market is really all about ideas. All products, all businesses, have ideas as their starting point. When those ideas come from God, they're inexhaustible. They never impoverish and they never are risky. And most important, they bless all.

Anyone can begin this change to a spiritual viewpoint right now. Gratitude for what is available can inform both our purchasing and investing. This lifts us from desperation and neediness to the recognition that God, the Giver of all good, is constantly renewing His creation. The Bible declares: "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning" (Lam. 3:22, 23).

God's compassions, new every morning, provide a practical help. These divine messages raise our thinking to see greater possibilities and opportunities. They enable us to be grateful for the good we already have or that comes into our lives each day. Consciously recognizing our relation to God, we'll have the wisdom we need to make investments that reward innovative thinking and the development of products that will bless humanity. Our prayers, based on the certainty of divine good, will help ease fears, even as they also help calm the troubled economic waters worldwide.

An account from Mark's Gospel provides food for thought in overcoming fear for ourselves or for the global market. As Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a storm developed. The sky darkened, the winds and waves were frightening, and the disciples called on the Master for help. The account reads: "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" (see Mark 4:35-41). The Christly conviction of peace enabled Jesus to rebuke the storm with the full assurance of God's all-power. It can also calm today's economic storms and bring greater stability to capital markets. Our prayers can help make this happen.

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