RECENTLY a young salesman, explaining his business success in the past year, told me how a lot of other people in his office had lost their initiative because they had let the predictions and talk of recession influence their entire approach. He, however, had decided to go ahead and continue to work hard. As a result he had his most productive year ever. In effect, he decided not to join the recession.
A few days later a friend telephoned to report that she had succeeded in paying off some troubling debts. As we talked, she explained that she had studied the Bible story in Second Kings of Elisha's encounter with the widow whose sons were about to be taken away by creditors. Elisha had told the widow to borrow empty containers from her neighbors and to fill them all from the small pot of oil she had in the house. When she had done this, he told her, "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and
thy children of the rest.
As a student of Christian Science, my friend has often found practical help from the Bible. Her experiences have proved for her that trust in God is reliable in solving problems--lack of income, difficult relationships, sin, disease, and pain. So she applied the spiritual message she saw in this story to her own life.
My friend realized that what she had in the house was trust in God, in divine Mind, to provide for His creation. Mind, God, is all-power and all-presence. As the origin of all right ideas, Mind is the actual source of whatever is needed by man. Acknowledging the power of divine Mind brings that power into our experience in practical ways.
A Bible verse reassured my friend that God's law is not only ever present but always effective. The verse is from Jeremiah: "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. My friend decided to go through her possessions and put the things she didn't need into a garage sale. To her surprise she made more than enough money to pay the debts that were worrying her.
A few weeks after these two conversations I was in trouble. It had become necessary for me to relocate five months before the lease on my house expired. The landlord was agreeable to a sublet if I did the advertising and screened applicants. I had found a suitable tenant, but two weeks before I was to leave she changed her mind. The outlook wasn't good, and I feared I would be liable for the final five months' rent.
At this point I recalled the young man who had not joined the recession. I decided to do similarly and not go along with notions about lack of time or of renters. I made a conscious effort not to go along with careless or depressing or negative outlooks. Instead, I gave precedence in my thoughts and actions to the spiritual qualities Christ Jesus recommends in his Sermon on the Mount-- honesty, affection, hope, meekness, health, wisdom. The best thoughts are those that express love for God and the convi ction that God, our Father-Mother, would not--could not--withhold good from His children.
I took this standpoint as consistently as I could. One of the thoughts I stayed with is from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She writes: "The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal.
It's not necessarily easy to monitor thought in this way. And often difficulties suggest that the only basis for solution is material. Yet the spiritual fact is that God continuously expresses and expands His ideas. Divine Mind empowers all real activity. And flawed action, inharmony, is not real.
I began to see that harmonious action is never a question of allocating material resources. The divine Mind is not aware of a material economy. What appear to be objects and economic factors are actually thoughts. Solutions, then, come from spiritual ideas, from the right investment of thought, purpose, and energy. Through prayer we are able to recognize the substantiality of the spiritual ideas that God provides.
As I was thinking along these lines I remembered my friend and the resources she found in the house. At that point my house was empty, literally. But when I realized that in this case the house itself was my resource, I recalled that a recent visitor had left the phone number of someone who might be interested in the house. I found the number, and within the week the sublet arrangements were settled. The lesson in spiritual resources has been far more memorable for me than the resolution of who would pay
Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
and thy faithfulness
reacheth unto the clouds.
Thy righteousness is like
the great mountains;
thy judgments are a great deep:
O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.
How excellent is thy lovingkindness,
therefore the children of men
put their trust under
the shadow of thy wings.
They shall be abundantly satisfied
with the fatness of thy house;
and thou shalt make them drink
of the river of thy pleasures.
For with thee is the fountain of life:
in thy light shall we see light.