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Prices rise, morale drops – what to do?

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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How many times do you drive up to a gas station and cringe at the cost of fuel? By May this year, a record-breaking $4.00+ per gallon for gasoline became a shocking but familiar standard in the United States. The price has fallen in some areas, but it's still hovering near $4, and continues to be even higher in Europe. To millions of us, the high gasoline prices and rising food prices, as well as the economic slowdown, have become unsettling, to say the least.

No one seems to agree why this is happening, but there are lots of theories, including the belief that greed and speculation are major factors.

There's a story in the Bible that has some helpful insight on this issue. It's the story of a man named Zacchaeus (see Luke 19:1-10), a very short man, a chief tax-gatherer or publican. Zacchaeus' position enabled him to make a good living, but much of his wealth was acquired by unethical business methods.

Luke's Gospel explains that when Jesus was walking through Jericho, people were crowding one another, trying to get close to him. Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus but couldn't see him because of all the people. So he climbed up a sycamore tree for a better view. When Jesus got closer to the tree, he looked up into the branches and said, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house."

The crowd was taken aback that such a spiritually minded teacher would lower himself by being a guest of a sinner. But Jesus was a healer. He wasn't seeing Zacchaeus as a corrupt businessman. Instead, he must have been seeing him spiritually. As Mary Baker Eddy put it, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pp. 476-477). The result was a transformation. Zacchaeus responded to Jesus by saying, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."

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