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Needs, wants, and giving

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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It's hard to resist a nagging sense of insecurity at this time of global financial adjustment. Essentials are costing more, and many people are reassessing their priorities. For some, this is an opportunity to distinguish needs from wants and to put the wants on the back burner until things improve. But what about the needs of others, which many people normally respond to through charitable giving? Do those go on the back burner, too?

It's not an easy question to answer, because to deny help to others is, in a way, stifling our natural impulse to love one another.

Is it really so natural to love, even people we don't know? Yes, it's built into our nature as the sons and daughters of a divine Creator to express love – and there are many instances of selfless action regularly reported in this newspaper that illustrate this. What would stifle the impulse to express love in this way, to hold back support for our brothers and sisters? Isn't it the basic fear that we may then not have enough for our own needs?

It's a fear that one can understand, and yet we aren't benefited if we stop there. We reap a greater blessing if we challenge that fear and find through prayer a peaceful trust in the constancy of good. This is based on recognizing that good comes from a higher source than volatile markets. Goodness is a quality of our divine source, of the constant loving presence that is God.

There's a spiritual law that lifts us above limitations and fears, that supports and rewards the trusting heart. Prayer gives us glimpses and evidences of this spiritual law of good in meeting our needs. Jesus expressed it this way in the Bible: "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt. 6:32). Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and who was keenly aware of the presence of unconditional divine Love, wrote in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (p. 494). This she saw as spiritual fact, made operational in our lives as we understand it and put it into practice.

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