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Looking beyond our fences

In a conversation about a neighbor, one farmer was overheard saying, ''The trouble with him is, he doesn't look beyond his own fences.'' That comment might be taken in one of two ways. Either the neighbor was indifferent to the needs of others around him, or he took too limited a view of his own resources and opportunities. Both standpoints can restrict our progress and our opportunities to bless others.

A lesson can be learned from the experience of Abraham when he parted from his nephew, Lot. The two had started out together on a God-inspired search for a land of greater opportunity. But when strife arose among their herdmen it seemed wise for them to part company. Although Abraham was the elder, he unselfishly offered Lot first choice in selecting the direction he would go. This generosity , however, in no way deprived Abraham of any of the good God had in store for him.

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''Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.''n1 This was the command and the promise God gave to the patriarch.

n1 Genesis 13:14, 15.

Abraham had only to lift up his eyes and look in every direction to see the boundless opportunity and resources awaiting him. ''Eyes,'' in the higher Biblical sense, are symbolic of a spiritual faculty, of that which sees beyond the immediate evidence and limitations of the physical senses. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives this definition: ''Eyes. Spiritual discernment, - not material but mental.'' And she adds, ''Jesus said, thinking of the outward vision, 'Having eyes, see ye not?' (Mark viii. 18.)''n2

Lifting up our eyes is akin to looking beyond our own fences - looking beyond the beliefs, opinions, and theories of the human mind with which we may have fenced ourselves in. Lifting up our eyes involves the use of spiritual sense, rather than physical sense. It involves the perception of the ever-present spiritual ideas that God, infinitely intelligent divine Mind, is forever imparting to man. In the Bible such ideas are often referred to as angels. They come to us right where we are and care for our need.

God, good, is infinite. To God, infinite Mind, divine Love, there are no fences - no limited perspectives, no mortal views of life, no finite abilities or opportunities. Concepts of finity, scarcity, inadequacy, restriction, obstruction, or depletion are misconceptions of the human mind. Through its ignorance of God and of the infinity of His good universe, human thought erects its own imprisoning fences.

But we can begin to take down those fences as we get better acquainted with God and our relationship to Him. We can cultivate this understanding through prayer, through study of the Bible's healing message, through following the example of our Way-shower, Christ Jesus.

Behind the concept of limitation is an even more fundamental misconception: that man is separated from the one infinite source of all good; from the unerring divine Mind with its unlimited spiritual ideas; from the presence of divine Love, our tender Father-Mother, forever holding each of His children in His eternal care. Man is God's spiritual image and likeness, the very expression of His perfect and illimitable substance. He is not, in reality, a mortal separate from his creator.

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In addition to the command ''Lift up now thine eyes,'' Abraham received a further direction. ''Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.''n3 It is not enough just to see the inheritance of good that awaits us; we need to go forward and claim it. We must not only look over our fences but take them down and move beyond them.

n3 Genesis 13:17.

Is our fence one of age, or race, or education, or health, or opportunity? It has no more authority, or power to limit us, than our beliefs give it. We can lift up our eyes and acknowledge - deeply realize - our unity with the infinite goodness of God. With moral courage we can go forward and prove this relationship to our creator. To God there are no fences. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed art thou, O Lord. . . Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalms 119:12, 18

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 586.

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