A COLLEGE student needed three course credits to complete his degree. The student asked a businessman he knew if he would give him lectures for three months to help him finish this final requirement for his degree. The businessman had numerous commitments and was extremely pressed for time to meet the demands of his work. But he also saw the student's request as an opportunity to do good, to bless another, and thus to express God's impartial, universal love.
The man was studying Christian Science, and he had recently felt a need in his own life to do more good for others. In fact, not long before the student made his request, this businessman had found a statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that stood out to him as an important precept to follow in his daily life. It's where Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in pati ence, meekness, love, and good deeds." So the man agreed to give the lectures.
Lecturing required substantial structured preparation in order for the businessman to convey his hands-on experience in a way that would benefit the student. But the man found that the very desire to accommodate the student and meet his need enabled him to present the ideas that would make the lectures practical. In fact, the class soon expanded to include others who were considering this business as a profession.
At its heart, business can be thought of as an expression of giving, or serving humanity. In the Bible, Paul speaks in his letter to the Ephesians about serving in its purest sense. He urges serving ``not with eye-service, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; . . . knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." Such giving is not a personal gesture. Giving from the heart invests the act with divinity that blesses t he giver and the receiver. When the act of giving stems from our desire to obey God, all-embracing Love, no one can underestimate the value of the gift or minimize its impact.
Christ Jesus' example of giving shows us how spiritually motivated giving spreads far beyond the initial act. After he talked with the Samaritan woman at the well, she returned to the city and urged all those she met to come and meet the man who was Christ, the long-expected Messiah. When Jesus raised a nobleman's son to life, not only the nobleman believed but also his whole household. And how many people today have learned to love and trust God by reading of Jesus' life and works in the Bible?
Doing good is being Christian. It honors Christ Jesus, who showed us how to be and do good. We can all follow him better when we realize how and why he was able to give so generously, so effectively. Christ turns us to God for the infinite spiritual resources, or gifts, that enable us to give to others. But in order to receive God's gifts, we have to claim them. Jesus makes this plain in his Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel, where he advises: ``Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye s hall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Claiming God's gifts and expressing them daily never limit us or deprive us of any essentials. God is infinite, self-existent good, and each of His children, His spiritual ideas, reflects Him. We show our gratitude to God by expressing His goodness, and we are benefited by an inner quietness and harmony, an awareness of God's nearness and benevolence permeating our lives. And without doubt, our lives will flower into wider usefulness and joy because we're discovering that true giving is spiritual.