One time while I was teaching small children in an elementary school how to develop their speech and language skills, I blurted out that I’d forgotten my lunch – and was quite hungry! Suddenly a dear little towheaded boy raised his hand and asked for permission to leave the room. He was new in the area and living with his family in a local hotel while his dad looked for work.
He quickly left. On his return, he approached me and most thoughtfully and generously presented me with a hard-boiled egg. His lunch! I was so moved, so touched. I’ve never forgotten it. The spirit of love-impelled self-sacrifice he expressed reminds me of a story in the book of Luke in the Bible:
“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’” (21:1-4, New International Version).
This lesson of the blessedness that comes when we generously give to others, and put others’ needs before our own, is woven throughout the Bible. The many accounts of unselfed love by those who walked closely with God were the outcome of an understanding of God as the supreme divine good that forever blesses man. In fact, in one of the last books of the Bible, it states that “God is love” (I John 4:8). If God is ever-present, infinite divine Love, it’s natural for each of us, as God’s spiritual children, to reflect this Love in our lives.
Our highest example for living a life of unselfed love is Christ Jesus. At one point in his ministry, Jesus gave what has been called the parable of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30-36). In this story, a Samaritan, while traveling, comes across a savagely beaten, severely wounded fellow traveler lying by the wayside.
He immediately determines that the injured man’s needs are more important than focusing solely on his own plans. He proceeds to find him a haven for his recuperation, tend to his needs, and give the innkeeper some money for his care, assuring him he will pay any extra costs incurred during his absence. The Samaritan’s wonderfully generous spirit impelled him to do whatever was needed in caring for the man, and at whatever cost to himself.
In the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “[B]lessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (p. 518), and “Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us” (p. 79).
Giving can’t impoverish us, because giving has its source in God, good, the inexhaustible Principle, divine Life and Love, that sustains and maintains us. Withholding would rob us of our purpose and reason for being, which is to express Life and Love in service to our Maker and our neighbor.
When we practice expressing this universal, impartial Love, we grow accustomed to obeying that spiritual, not material, impetus, which enables us to bless and heal our fellow man. In doing so, we discover that this willingness to give provides significantly more meaning to our own lives. And this heartfelt magnanimity often unearths capacities within ourselves that we had no idea God had given us. Truly, there is nothing more blessed than to bless others.