The value of money

A Christian Science perspective.

Last October, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Paul Krugman, an economist and a professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, won the Nobel Prize for economics. During a TV interview aired on NHK of Japan, Mr. Krugman said that greed was the core factor of the current financial crisis, and that unfortunately greed is not illegal.

A lot of people with major investments have been facing fear, uncertainty, anger, and stress, as a result of the financial situation. Although I don't have a big savings account, I felt I needed to do my part – to think through the situation in order to pray for a solution that would help people.

The Bible verse "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (I John 2:15) sheds light on today's financial crisis and hints at how to begin restoring stability around the world. To me, loving the world, in the sense of this Bible verse, involves giving too much power to money and to other material aspects of our existence. Instead of seeing ourselves as lovingly and generously cared for by God, we believe that our substance is tied up with our material belongings – home, clothing, computer, etc. – and money. But our supply is actually something much bigger than money, and a lot less limited.

Let me offer an analogy. Over the hundreds of years that composers have written music, the various musical notes have been used millions of times. But they still aren't worn out or depleted. Each note can be seen to represent an essentially spiritual concept. Anyone who wants to write music today can use as many notes as he or she wants – there's no limit to the supply. In her work "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Music is the rhythm of head and heart" (p. 213). This points toward its essential spiritual nature.

Money can be seen in a similar spiritual light. The bills (notes) and coins, the balances in our bank accounts, are limited representations of the true sense of money. Money is one expression of a spiritual idea we might call "supply." This spiritual concept transcends the material objects we can touch and see. Just as music exists regardless of the notations that represent it, our supply exists as a free, independent, harmonious, and helpful idea, not tied to the bills in a wallet or the numbers in a checking account. Moreover, money is not our master. As God's child, each of us has "dominion" (see Gen. 1:26).

Our true income comes from the much higher intelligence that some may call God or infinite Mind. In the same way that we need to see that music is not confined to notations and recordings but is freely expressed by Mind throughout its infinite universe, we need to see that the source of true wealth is not in money in the bank, but in divine Love, which is caring for all its creation and giving its ideas all that they need. Seeing money in this light, we can express the important qualities of "wisdom, economy, and brotherly love" (see Mary Baker Eddy, "Manual of The Mother Church," p. 77). And we can expect less fear of loss or lack, and to be free of the inclination to hoard. Just as nobody can ever hoard the notes used in music, nobody can hoard God's spiritual supply of good to His creation.

To shift our concept of money – or anything, really – from the material to the spiritual greatly expands our ability to think, see, and live spiritually and practically. As Science and Health says, "Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, – the reign and rule of universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen" (p. 208). Let's replace fear with a certainty that our provision is not ephemeral but represents the concrete and infinite idea of God's overflowing good. As we do this, the nature of money as a representation of our ability to do good will become more evident, and will continue to grow more real to us.

From a spiritual perspective, we can declare in prayer that right now, God is providing all good – and this "now" is forever. As our conviction grows, we will gain new hope and peace, and be able to remain calm, even in the financial hurricane.

There is nothing to fear as long as we remind ourselves of God's allness and power. He safely cares for everyone, every moment.

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