Generosity that goes both ways

In the face of employment uncertainty and economic volatility, meeting one’s needs – much less helping others with theirs – can seem nearly impossible. But recognizing God as the source of limitless good empowers us to experience and share divine goodness in tangible ways.

I braced myself as I watched a “60 Minutes” news segment called “Coronavirus and the economy: Best and worst-case scenarios from Minneapolis Fed president.” The interview was with Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In the interview, Mr. Kashkari – who helped lift the U.S. out of 2008’s Great Recession – indicated that he’d learned, after the fact, that it’s better to err on the side of being generous rather than singling out some as deserving and others as not.

I love the idea of a connection between generosity and widespread benefits. While it may seem like a counterintuitive pairing on the surface, it coincides with what Christian Science refers to as God’s law of Love. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, spent years studying the Holy Bible and learned about the expansive and loving nature of God. In fact, Love itself is a biblical name for God (see I John 4:16).

Mrs. Eddy was referring to God as divine Love when she wrote this in her book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’” (p. 13). God is generously giving unlimited good to every one of us as God’s beloved children, the spiritual expression of divine Love – all the time.

I know it doesn’t always seem like it, especially these days with layoffs and greatly diminished retirement savings. But the spiritual fact of God’s goodness remains unchanged, and Mrs. Eddy – following in the path Jesus pointed out – proved this over and over, and we can experience evidence of divine good in our lives, too.

One of my favorite examples along these lines involved a farmer and his cows. There hadn’t been enough rain in the area, the farmer’s well was empty, and the cows were starting to go dry. When Mrs. Eddy learned of this, she said, “Oh! if he only knew, Love fills that well.” And the next morning the well was full, even though it hadn’t rained for days (see Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, “Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer,” Amplified Edition, p. 177).

Each of us, too, can experience how that same Love fills whatever empty well we seem to be facing. God doesn’t give “just enough,” but gives generously – and so we can express Love-impelled generosity toward others.

Once, right before I dropped a significant amount of weight, I purchased a two-piece suit. I needed it for work, and it was expensive! But I wore the suit only once or twice before it no longer fit and was too big to get altered.

I’d been praying a lot about some profound losses in my life, which had led to a sweet conviction of God’s abundant provision for all His children, me included. So when I met a woman who’d just started a new job and didn’t have the proper clothing for it, I offered her my suit. When she gratefully accepted, I honestly didn’t feel as though I was losing anything, even though some might say I’d wasted a chunk of money. I guess I was erring on the side of generosity.

That very same night, as I was walking into my apartment building, I ran into a neighbor. Guess what she gave me, with no prompting? A three-piece designer suit well out of my budget range. I loved it, and it fit perfectly!

My story is just one small example of how understanding God as the source of all good frees us up to be generous, and opens the door for us to see more evidence of that good in our lives. Sometimes it’s in small ways, other times larger ones. But whether the need relates to your “well,” mine, or someone else’s across the globe, God’s limitless giving is here to benefit us all.

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