Supply for refugees and their hosts
A Christian Science perspective.
There has been quite a bit of attention in the news this summer about crises caused by significant numbers of refugees and immigrants, whether they are unaccompanied children from Central America coming to the United States, families and individuals fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East, or groups of people trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in hopes of having a better life than they had in Africa. Many of the news stories have discussed how the sudden influx of people strains the resources of their destination and how these countries can or should address these problems.
In reading one of those reports recently, I thought of several quotations from Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science. In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes, “In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, – Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply” (p. 206). Elsewhere in the same book, she writes, “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind” (p. 60).
I love the idea that an action motivated by unselfish care for our fellow man is based on the law of divine Love, God, and therefore it is supported by this divine law. The understanding that man’s source of supply is God, Spirit, Soul, must bless everyone and cannot lead to want or scarcities. When seen in the light of this law of Love, individuals or countries that choose to help refugees and immigrants cannot be punished or harmed for their charity and compassion. God meets every need of both the newcomers and their hosts, and He does not let us, His children, lack anything. When one recognizes that Spirit, or God, is infinite, it becomes clear that there cannot be any shortages or strain on resources. In economic terms, God’s economy is not a “zero-sum game,” in which a gain by some means a loss by others. God’s infinite blessings are enough for everyone.
The Bible account of the loaves and fishes that Mrs. Eddy mentions is a perfect example of both infinite supply and infinite blessings. Jesus had spent three days out in the countryside, healing and preaching to a group of more than 4,000 people. Near the end of the third day, Jesus said to his disciples that he did not want to send the people away hungry, because they’d had nothing to eat for the past three days. His disciples were skeptical and asked how he could feed so many people when they were so far away from a town.
Jesus’ response was to ask how much food they had, which amounted to seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes. While the disciples probably saw this limited amount as barely able to feed themselves, Jesus knew that it was just a small glimpse of the infinite supply that God had prepared for them. They ended up passing the food out to the multitude, and, after everyone had eaten, they collected seven baskets full of leftovers (see Matthew 15:32-38, Mark 8:1-9). According to the biblical accounts, no one left hungry or missed out on a meal. The disciples were blessed by sharing their resources, and, in the end, they had more than they started with.
As God’s children, we all have constant access to this infinite supply of resources, because God expresses His infinite goodness in man. By knowing what is spiritually true and affirming God’s unlimited blessings for each of His children, we can all support the worldwide relief efforts, irrespective of where we happen to live. Mrs. Eddy writes of God, “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (Science and Health, p. 13). Everyone has endless supply, regardless of where they are or who is around them. Whether the situation requires food, as the crowd of people who were with Jesus did, or whether it requires money, employment, housing, schools, clothing, or other essentials, we can pray to understand more fully that God is tenderly and lovingly supplying all needs.