I remember a saying that went something like this: “Whoever has the most toys at the end of the game wins.” I’ve often questioned that expression. The Bible teaches that there is more value in spiritual than in material things. In Colossians the Bible says: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (3:2).
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper expands this Bible verse in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She writes, “All nature teaches God’s love to man, but man cannot love God supremely and set his whole affections on spiritual things, while loving the material or trusting in it more than in the spiritual” (p. 326). The Bible and the teachings of Christian Science show that the spiritual is permanent, and the material is fleeting. By trusting in Spirit, God, we are relying on what’s fundamentally substantial and forever sustainable. It is in this way that loving God wholeheartedly reveals blessings that bring joy and amply meet the necessities of our daily lives.
Christ Jesus taught the importance of trusting God with our daily needs when in the Sermon on the Mount he concluded, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). The following example gave our family an opportunity to see how this teaching can add to our present-day experiences.
Growing up, my family lived in a city where public transportation met many of our needs. But for my brother, who was attending a high school several miles from our home and worked a job across town in the evenings, a car became a necessity. He was able to learn to drive on a friend’s car to apply for his license, but being able to afford a car of his own was another issue. In going about meeting this need, my father showed him how to turn this over to God in prayer.
Our father had shown us that we could trust God, divine Love, to help us resolve any problem because it is the nature of Love to reveal unlimited good in our lives. Understanding Love’s unlimited provision for all enables us to move forward with the expectation that our need will be met. The outcome in this type of instance might be a car, but it is the cherishing of spiritual things – such as spiritual love for others, integrity, freedom, unselfishness, patience, and joy – that reveals Spirit, God’s blessings, in our lives. Unlike any material thing, such as a car, these are things we will always have with us. Understanding the substantiality and permanence of Spirit builds faith, confidence, and peace of mind, all while increasing our love for God and man.
As I look back on this, I see how important it was to appreciate the ways divine Love was unveiling these new ideas to our family. It wasn’t about praying for a car but rather praying to understand and trust that divine Love’s harmony, joy, and freedom would be made evident in the right way for us. We were also learning to be grateful for the evidences we already saw of our spiritual completeness. Much good unfolded in our lives that summer, and we saw the practical value in looking past the material view of merely needing a car and praying instead for a deeper understanding of man’s relationship to God.
As a result of cherishing God, our needs were met. Not long after my brother passed his driver’s test and his license was on its way, a friend told my parents he no longer needed one of the cars in his garage, and was happy to sell it to my father for $1. My father then gave the car to my brother, who happily chauffeured the family around and about town for a few years before he joined the Navy. And I don’t remember his ever complaining about his new-found role in our family!
As I moved on through life, buying and selling many cars along the way, I never forgot the lessons learned that summer. It was a lovely proof of what Mrs. Eddy shares in Science and Health: “From Love and from the light and harmony which are the abode of Spirit, only reflections of good can come” (p 280).