A Christian Science perspective: God bestows the treasure of spiritual goodness on each of us.

“You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy,” says exceptionally successful singer Garth Brooks. That sure has a ring of truth, doesn’t it? Yes, money in one form or another may be a necessity, but it’s the deeper, priceless things that genuinely enrich our lives.

Wealth in itself surely isn’t evil, as shown by those wealthy individuals on our planet who actually are quite unselfish. However, the obsessive love of money can make for very selfish, even destructive, decisions that lead to big problems.

Does that mean that suffering in poverty or quietly enduring pain is necessarily noble, as it is sometimes portrayed? While lack certainly may at times end up prompting someone to search for a deeper understanding of God, the Bible shows Christ Jesus healing the sick and feeding crowds needing food in evidence of God’s boundless goodness. And isn’t it this overcoming of lack and suffering that proves the divine source of goodness is available and practical to meet every need?

So here’s a thought-provoking question: Could it be said that Jesus was the wealthiest person the world has ever seen? That is, could anything enrich one’s life more than the supremacy of spiritual power he proved in all the times he helped and loved and healed people? And not only in his era, but all the way to the present day people have experienced a great wealth of healing because of following Jesus’ example and teaching.

Jesus gave this insightful counsel: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). What are these “treasures in heaven”? Rewards we can only receive in the future? No; Jesus also stated in the present tense that “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). This treasure is God’s current, tangible goodness. God, whom Christian Science also describes as Truth and Love, created each of us in the spiritual likeness of divine Love. We are enriched with spirituality and purity, truth and talent, love and intelligence. These priceless, divine treasures are innate in everyone, without exception, now and always.

Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy explains in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Man understands spiritual existence in proportion as his treasures of Truth and Love are enlarged” (p. 265). As we put these precious spiritual treasures to use – intentionally strive to express them in our lives – we see more and more evidence of the wholeness and goodness inherent in all of us.

A good friend of mine experienced this one time at work. Without being given any training or guidance, she was asked to do an assignment that was vitally important not just for her company, but for many people her company served. She requested help several times, but no one could give her the guidance she needed. So, in prayer, she gratefully acknowledged the treasures of heaven – specifically the divine qualities of intelligence and insight – that God expresses continuously in everyone.

The Bible touches on how heartfelt prayer can be answered: “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). My friend humbly opened up her thought to God, and her particular blessing was evident in a series of ideas then dawning on her that resulted in the successful completion of this very difficult assignment. This was a blessing for her customers, and the deeper understanding she gained of God’s goodness was a rich spiritual windfall for her!

It’s not the love of money, nor a love of martyrdom, but the love of the priceless, infinite treasures God gives each one of us that truly, deeply enriches. Pausing to acknowledge these spiritual treasures, followed by putting them into use personally and in our interactions with others, is itself an effective prayer that blesses not just ourselves, but those our lives touch each and every day.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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