Rent. Grocery bills. Car payments. Utility bills. Sometimes it seems that existence is just one long string of bills to be paid - and maybe even one long string of struggles to make ends meet.
But life doesn't have to be lived as such a discouraging cycle. There's an answer for putting an end to recurring financial difficulties, and it's found in the Bible, where we can draw lessons from the life of the master Christian, Christ Jesus. Jesus' needs - and the needs of those he came in contact with - were wonderfully cared for, whether the demand was for money, food, health, or even life itself.
For example, many of us are probably familiar with his feeding of a hungry crowd of thousands when his only apparent source of supply was a few loaves of bread and a couple of fishes. And when confronted by the death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus was able to restore life.
Wasn't gratitude an important factor in the Master's consistent proving of God's care for man? Sometimes Jesus gave thanks to God even before the specific challenge was met. Just prior to raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said: ''Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always.'' n1
n1 John 11:41, 42
However, the Way-shower's life was not a half-spiritual, half-mortal sequence of gratitude followed by supply, repeated again and again. No, in a very meaningful sense Jesus' life was a constant expression of gratitude to his creator, a constant awareness of his divine sonship and total dependence on God. This underlay his ability to provide for himself and others.
That's all well and good, you may say. But Jesus lived hundreds of years ago. I need help in today's world of rising inflation and high interest rates.
Well you can stop right there. The truth that God is the sole source and sustainer of man's being is eternal. It spans the centuries and is just as available to meet your need today as it was when Jesus fed the hungry multitudes. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and a devoted follower of Jesus' teachings, puts it this way: ''Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494.
How do we begin, then, to let this truth govern our lives? We can consider the spiritual foundation that enabled Jesus to live such a consistent life of gratitude. He understood and demonstrated that man is not a lonely mortal, left to fend for himself in a frightening world of limited resources. Rather, man is in reality the child - the spiritual image and likeness - of the one Father-Mother God.
We can begin to affirm and realize this truth in prayer, in communion with our creator. And we can gratefully expect to see tangible, practical results. Because God never stops being our Father-Mother, and because we never stop being His beloved sons and daughters, in reality we are always tenderly cared for, never subject to the ups and downs of a material world.
Following Jesus' example, we can approach every weekly trip to the grocery store, and every monthly payment or yearly tax, with the trust and gratitude that come from understanding the uninterrupted goodness that is man's heritage as the offspring of God. We can strive to express the richness of the divine nature in love, purity, and intelligence. What is more, as our clear perception and living of this heritage lift us off the merry-go-round of economic uncertainties, this will help in some measure the world around us. The solution to cycles of expansion and recession at home and to recurring famines abroad can only be found through a spiritual understanding of God as man's source and provider.
How easy it is to be filled with gratitude when we begin to discern the promise this divine reality holds for each of us! DAILY BIBLE VERSE When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly . . . your Father Knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him Matthew 6:6, 8