Is economic inequality part of God’s design?
A Christian Science perspective: What did Christ Jesus teach about economy?
I’ve always felt deep gratitude toward the relatives who took me and my family into their home when I was just a child. We were unexpectedly left homeless and had no resources whatsoever, and these dear relatives offered a place under their roof. Though our relatives lived comfortably, they were by no means wealthy and could not easily afford to take on three extra mouths. Their generous hearts far outweighed their economic situation at the time. Yet, through their unselfish love and their devotion to God – understood as the source of all good – we all had what was needed. Eventually my family and I were able to move forward on our own.
I see this experience as not about splitting their piece of the proverbial pie with us. Based on what I have learned through the teachings of Christian Science, being sustained at this economically challenging time was real proof in our lives of the practicality of the teachings of Christ Jesus. He showed us that as children of God, Spirit, our supply is a continuous expression of God’s love, always ready to meet our needs and that His children must naturally express that love. His teachings included the following saying: “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8). And he instructed his followers, “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:42). Jesus taught that loving unselfishly, together with a deep recognition of God as the source of all good, is what brings blessings. Living this spiritual demand blessed both families in ways that have continued to grow.
The concept of haves and have-nots is not normal and has no basis under the law of God, who is Love, as Christ Jesus proved Him to be. If poverty was either natural or necessary under divine providence, it would mean that the source of all goodness and blessing, God, withholds His love from some, while others live in plenty. But this is not true. The consistent healing works of Jesus show us that each one of us is equally cherished and provided for by the Father of all – for example, when he fed thousands with five loaves and two fishes (see Matthew 14:15-21). Explaining the practicality of unselfish giving through the love of God, and pointing to an even deeper kind of giving as well, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (p. 518).
It is both within us and within our reach to be aware of and respond in a practical way to the needs of others; in fact, doing this fulfills a divine requirement to love one another. It is through a deep love of others that we can begin to understand that the inexhaustible source is divine Love, in whom all needs are met. As we seek divine Love’s guidance, we open our thought to possibilities unseen by human wisdom alone, because we are putting our trust in God, whose provisions for man are infinite and right at hand – blessing all equally.
Saint Paul, who followed the spirit and teachings of Christ Jesus, reminded the Corinthians: “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack” (II Corinthians 8:13-15). The idea that God provides for all His children equally and fully may seem incongruous with the world situation at present, but it is a spiritual fact that has been proved to be practical. My own earlier experience brought an increased understanding of this divine truth and allowed me to overcome the lack of resources when I started my own company, when I raised children, and later, when I embarked on an entirely new career.
In these small but meaningful ways I have come to see that neither poverty nor the pursuit of riches is of divine design. Following Christ Jesus’ demand, “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” reminds us that the source of supply is God and that each one of us has ample good to share.