There is such balance in Christ Jesus' prayer. I see "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," as an equation of sorts. Look at AS as the equal sign. We are forgiven AS we forgive. We are free AS we free. Mary Baker Eddy summed up the perfect balance of the equation when she wrote, "And Love is reflected in love."
God forgives and we forgive. God gives and we give. The divine Principle of supply includes balance.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states, “Giving does not impoverish us, neither does withholding enrich us in the service of our Lord.” (79) In fact, the opposite is true. Giving enriches and withholding impoverishes – because if we believe that we are not in a position to give, we may be dealing with the obstructive sin of greed.
All we ever do, we do by reflection! According to Genesis 1, God's man is made in His perfect and good image and likeness. God, the great Giver, gives. Therefore we, the Giver's image, give. It’s not that God gives and we receive. That would be absorption, wouldn’t it? It would imply the need to store up, or the possibility of exhausting, our divine resources. But the Principle of giving, the Principle of supply, is God. And God's supply is reflected in us as His well-supplied creation, reflecting His giving nature. God gives and we reflect His giving, and thus the flow of good continues forever unobstructed.
I believe that this sense of ceaseless giving is ultimately the divine law that is behind the Biblical concept of tithing. A tithe is not a tax. A tax could exhaust one's resources. A true and honest tithe can only come from a spiritual understanding of the abundance of what God gives. This spiritual understanding opens the door to the divine economy where divine Love meets EVERY human need in just the right way.
Remember the disciples' role when the loaves and fish were multiplied for hungry thousands? What little they thought they had was distributed freely. In the human economy, such giving might follow the mathematical rule of subtraction. But in the divine economy, through Christ Jesus' understanding of the Principle of reflection that is God, the result was a multiplication of provisions. Loaf and fish multiplied until all were fed.
And no one was left out. How many disciples distributed? Twelve. How many baskets were gathered when all the work was done? TWELVE. One scholar noted, “When all were fed, when the job was done, they gathered up twelve baskets full, one basket for each Apostle. No waste, but no stinginess. God does not starve His staff.” (Interpreter's Bible Commentary) I love that!
In the divine economy, there is no paltry return on investment. God gives and so we have an abundance to give. In simple terms, tithing is a 10 percent investment with a 90 percent return. Who can beat that in any other market?
Tithing isn't limited to giving in church, although that is a good thing, too. Check out Mary Baker Eddy's inspired take on the gifts we have to give: "TITHE. Contribution; tenth part; homage; gratitude." Science and Health, 595)
Is there any area of human life that can''t be benefited by rendering homage or reverence to God's goodness and contributing a little time, attention, prayer and other acts, with gratitude?
Are you looking for the confidence and spiritual authority that opens your prayers to abundant good? Think about your giving - of time, of energy, of prayer, of service to family and others - even of paying your bills - not, as a burden, but rather as an investment of good, flowing from divine Good, from God, and reflected fully in you.
Claim your fat and flourishing return. You are God's image and likeness. No one and nothing has more to give than you do, by perfect, flawless, unobstructed reflection.
This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give;
not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you;
that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad;
he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food,
and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness,
which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints,
but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.
The Apostle Paul, II Corinthians 9:6-11,14
This post originally appeared April 12, 2012.
Gertrude Stein wrote in her book Everybody's Autobiography (1937), "It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing."
I must say I do agree. At least it can look that way to an observer. And it often feels that way to the one going through the process of sitting, thinking, squirming, waiting, wondering, gazing out the window, staring at the wall, clipping fingernails, thinking... all the while waiting for some outward sign of forward movement.
Oh, how many times have I experienced just that. Each time I think I will discover some new way to circumvent the process. And then, here we go again.
A couple of years ago, I was in the middle of what looked and felt like a "doing nothing" patch. I had been staring at the walls for a decent chunk of time as January dragged into February. When it looked like February might pass into March without much to say for it, I reached out to a Christian Science practitioner for help.
Christian Science practitioners (like me) pray for people to help them out of stuck places in their lives. I wasn't sure what I was looking for from this prayer, other than the ability to trust that all this quiet, and thinking, and sitting, and doing nothing but scrutinize my white walls, was OK... And to know that I wasn't nuts. Because, frankly, I wondered what was wrong with me that nothing seemed to be going on in my life.
So she prayed for me until I saw the reinforcing power that develops in deep periods of quiet. I would describe what I saw this way:
Think of the formation of a wave. A wave develops well under the surface on the ocean floor. The current (think undertow, when it happens near the shore) pulls back, and finally pushes up, propelling the water forward with amazing force. We glory in the beauty of the activity on the surface, not always recognizing the invisible, silent, essential build-up of strength that precedes it.
I turn to Mary Baker Eddy for a clear description of the metaphysics of this wave development. She wrote, "Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, — wait on God. Then we push onward, until boundless thought walks enraptured, and conception unconfined is winged to reach the divine glory." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 323)
No matter what it looks like on the surface, something powerful is happening.
I have been a pusher all my life. But I love to think now of these strength-yielding pauses. I believe it is absolutely essential to allow oneself the mental space - white wall space - to pause, to be - to think and wonder and even squirm (!), - as one waits on the onward push of God, omniactive good.
Its not really a time thing. I have had pauses that last but a second before the next breakers of inspiration jettison me forward onto the shore of some new adventure or activity. Others have been long. Really long. What looked, up close, to be a two month pause a couple of years ago, was really the last momentum-gathering undertow at the end of a six year deep-think pause. But the force of that build-up has carried me through some of my most productive and interesting years yet.
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no