ONE day my husband, who is in business for himself, was telling me about some business dealings that appeared to me to be costing him more than he was making. For some time I had felt apprehensive and inwardly critical of his ability to conduct this business in a profitable way. Yet no amount of nagging or discussing the problem with him had changed things. This time I kept quiet and turned to God in prayer to find release from fear. Immediately these questions came to me: ``Are the thoughts you are having right now profitable? Will they bless your family and your marriage? Will they bring an abundance of `the fruit of the Spirit' into your experience?'' (The Apostle Paul refers in Galatians to this fruit as ``love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.''
I saw that I was accusing my husband of being unprofitable when I myself was being unprofitable. Then my thoughts were flooded with a sense of God's love for me and my family, in fact for everyone. I felt certain that as I entertained profitable, God-derived thoughts, such as love and joy and gentleness, our finances would reflect this good.
This is exactly what occurred. We found that our resources were consistently sufficient to meet our needs, and we also found that our family happiness and appreciation began to overflow as well.
Sometimes when we hear the word profit we think of greed or materialism. We may wonder whether we should even want to or expect to profit. We may wonder whether it's legitimate to pray about a lack of profitability.
Certainly our motive for making money or doing well in business is important. If our goal is simply a more comfortable, luxurious life, we're headed in the wrong direction. Christ Jesus' teachings make it clear that we just can't use God to get things. We must actively seek the kingdom of God. And yet it is the nature of God to bless His children and to care for their every need. We read in Isaiah, ``Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.''
God, infinite Spirit, is forever providing for man, His cherished spiritual offspring. This is the spiritual reality of existence, the truth of creator and creation. Prayer that's based on this truth, that trusts in something beyond how things appear at the moment, can help bring the truth to light, revealing the spiritual ideas that God is always bestowing on us. Through prayer ``the fruit of the Spirit'' fills our thoughts and naturally brings into our experience productive jobs, efficient ways of approaching things, new ideas we never considered, and so forth.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love....
``Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it. Goodness attains the demonstration of Truth.''
In a profound sense, then, we are not at the mercy of people, of economies, of seasonal changes, or other external conditions for our ability to prosper. God is unchanging, unerring Love, and each of us has the Christlike capacity to hold productive thoughts that acknowledge God's allness. This is not to ignore evil or the way things seem to be. It's to find a remedy for it by bringing our thoughts and lives into line with God's goodness. Then we'll find our experience prospering. It's really the spiritual ideas, and not the monetary byproducts, that are the cherished substance we seek.
Fear that we will not succeed diminishes when we are expressing ``the fruit of the Spirit.'' After listing these Paul states, ``Against such there is no law.'' No apparent laws of supply and demand, no laws of accident, circumstance, chance, statistics, weather, astrology, can injure us when we have made Godlikeness the basis of our thinking. Godlike thinking honors only God's law of harmony, and this omnipotent law supersedes lack.
If you or your family or someone you know or an institution is facing a lack of profit, it can be helpful to ask yourself if the thoughts you are having about the situation are profitable. We can and must be responsible for keeping our own thoughts profitably contributing when a need comes to our attention. In this way only can we find consistent freedom from all that is unprofitable. Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.
BIBLE VERSE Incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;... then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
Proverbs 2:2, 5-8