Almost everywhere financial affairs are at or near the top of the agenda.
In Washington, there’s an investigation into allegations that Goldman Sachs, a major investment bank, created flawed products, sold them to investors, and then bet that they would fail. In the United Kingdom, budgetary issues have been a major topic in the recent parliamentary elections. To reduce the UK’s high budget deficit, serious cuts in public spending are expected, and there is great concern about who and what will be most affected. Meanwhile, Germany, France, and other countries are working with Greece to prevent a financial meltdown that could affect the euro and other European nations. These are only some of the areas where finances rouse concerns.
As the founder and leader of the Christian Science movement, Mary Baker Eddy was no stranger to serious financial, legal, and business challenges, but she always let God be her guide and she always came out on top. In her writings, you’ll find more than once this statement from the Bible: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Ps. 37:5).
At a time when even many experts are baffled as to what will help bring global finances back into balance, and how to do it without wreaking social and economic havoc, making this commitment to the Lord is essential. God, the one Mind, includes all intelligence and wisdom, and His guidance is sure because it is infused with Truth and Love.
Commitment to prayer brings with it the need for spiritual introspection, self-purification, and a willingness to strive for a clearer understanding of what really does profit an individual, an industry, and a nation. Here, Jesus’ pointed question provides guidance: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
On the surface of things, many unprofitable elements of thought seem to be in the driver’s seat – intransigence, greed, self-justification, fear, self-will, pride, envy, selfishness. Yet the very blatant nature of such conditions hints that there’s potential for a genuine new birth, a new way of interacting, of actually following Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Supporting that new birth vigorously and prayerfully will move mountains of resistance, confusion, despair.
This shift in thought can define profit as the ability to do good – not just for oneself but also for one’s immediate and far-flung neighbors. The moral standard that accompanies a commitment to good would exclude creating products designed to fail, misleading people about the viability of investments, and so forth.
It may appear that making such a dramatic change would be virtually impossible, given the millions of people affected. But the spiritual reality is that shifting thought in this direction, and allying oneself with the Christ – our true spiritual nature, created by God – isn’t starting a huge economic or social movement, pulling in many directions. Rather, it is recognizing that divine omnipotence, the one Mind, has one purpose: to do only good, and that this is everyone’s purpose. In essence, such prayer is turning to the one and only power that can truly reshape the world.
Everyone who believes in God’s power to heal and save has the ability to support this shift in thought. In an article titled “The New Birth,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “He who has named the name of Christ, who has virtually accepted the divine claims of Truth and Love in divine Science, is daily departing from evil; and all the wicked endeavors of suppositional demons can never change the current of that life from steadfastly flowing on to God, its divine source” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896,” p. 19).
Fears, doubts, moral blindness, and willfulness are the “suppositional demons” that prevent progressive steps and dilute moral courage. But as “suppositional demons,” they can never stand before the current of all-powerful good, which can bring nations back into balance, uplift hope, and rouse thought to a higher love for one’s fellow beings.
Intelligent and wise answers can be found. Appropriate protections for economies are already being considered by several governments. Google has stopped cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship even though it meant losing access to a major market. These are good signs.
Intransigence, fear of taking a moral stand, clinging to predatory business models – all these can yield to our conviction that this stream of good is meant for everyone, not just a select few. As that stream washes over all, it purifies. It enables us to resist the pressure to support profit over morality, power over love, short-term success over lasting progress.
This is a radical stand. It challenges the material basis on which the world as we know it is based. And victory will demand a significant commitment on everyone’s part. Yet, as we transition to a greater understanding of divine Love and its government, we’ll discover that this is the world our hearts have always known to be right. And it is the one that will prevail.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.