Through my work in the healing ministry I often get the opportunity to talk with college students and recent grads. At this point in life (as well as perhaps many times throughout our lives) there is the question of what’s next? It seems that with this question, there comes with it a lot of worry or fear about finding one’s right place including – right employment and place to live. Sometimes this fear can lead us to some self-focused thinking, and a lot of “I” statements and questions…
- I want “x”… and I don’t want “y”.
- What can I get out of this job or what can I gain from it?
- How much will I make?
- What’s in it for me?
In these conversations, I’ve sometimes been lead to pose the question – “Have you thought about it this way perhaps – “how can I be a blessing?”” In other words, how can I best serve… God, my fellow man, my community, the world, etc.?
Often I find a light goes off for the person I’m chatting with… you can see the light break across their face and a weigh lift of their shoulders. Sometimes I’ve been met with the response – “Wow, I never thought of it that way.” Or “Hmmm, you know, I’ve really only been thinking about what’s in it for me, but that’s a good way to look at it.”
I found in one case, when the person and I chatted a week later, new possibilities were unfolding in a harmonious way that had not been there before or hadn’t been considered. And when one considers how one can be a blessing, then thought opens to new possibilities and ideas and a willingness to consider options that at face value may not seem in line with personal benefit. But the thing is, when we are willing to be a blessing, we cannot help but be blessed in return – as Mary Baker Eddy puts it:
“…whatever blesses one blesses all…”Science and heatlh with key to the scriptures
This was certainly the case when I lead a study abroad program in New Zealand with a group of college students. One of our goals of the trip was to be a blessing wherever we went. We found that in doing so, our thought was more open and aware of the people around us, and not so inward or self-focused. It allowed us to engage with others without thinking about what we might get in return. But the result was that people were more open with us and willing to share of themselves, and how can we not be blessed by that sharing?
In another instanced, I was helping a friend, who was moving back to the US from another country and needed to sell her car. We talked about how the car had been a blessing to her and her family and would be a blessing to the next family, and that seeing it as a blessing to be share rather than a mere transaction to get done and checked off the moving to-do list, we would see the situation unfold harmoniously. Well, it was getting down to the wire, time-wise, but we persisted in knowing the car would bless someone else. One night, just a few days before departing, there was a big storm that brought down trees and branches. The next day, we got a response to the add. A family was very much in need of a new car, because theirs had been crushed by a falling tree in the storm. My friend’s car was a perfect fit for this family’s needs. And in fact, the woman who was interested in purchasing the car said her father had worked overseas when they had been growing up and she was aware of all that needed to happen in a move such as my friend was doing. The woman offered to take the car “as is” without my friend getting it cleaned and “detailed”, as she had planned to do upon sale, for a slight reduction in the cost. It was certainly a blessing all the way around because it freed up much needed time on our end as well. The woman also offered to let us keep the car a couple more days, right up until the night before we were all headed to the airport. It all couldn’t have worked out more perfectly if we had planned it, and in fact even better than we had imagined, and everyone was blessed by the entire situation.
So how can you make decisions based on being a blessing or seeing the blessings all around you? And how are you going to be a blessing to those around you today?
This morning the following Bible passage was in my email, and when I read it I was awe struck…
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.[I Chronicles 29:11
After reading this I felt just in awe of God’s greatness and power and felt so utterly humbled before God. All sense of ego on my part just dissolved, and I as I began my morning prayers I felt like I was truly on my knees, mentally. I pondered what does it mean to be a humble servant of the Lord? Does that mean that we have or are nothing? I then remembered part of the Golden Text, or theme, of this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson on the subject of Substance, from the book of Luke:
. . . it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. . . .Luke 12:32 it
I was recently asked “what does it mean to have the kingdom? Now that we’ve been given the kingdom, now what?”. Well, we get to have the confidence that God is providing all that we need, and there is never any lack or limitation when we put God first. We live out from that kingdom and have dominion over temptations to doubt or fear. In fact, the first part of that passage states: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
If we have the kingdom, we have all the richness and good that it comes with, and we can proceed in life knowing that Love, another word for God (according to 1 John), is providing for every need – including health and wholeness, belonging and community, steady supply. So we don’t need to fear, and we can live completely unselfishly knowing that there is an endless supply of good, not only for ourselves but for each and every one of us. There is no “us and them” in the kingdom. We are all given equally and abundantly.
If we have the kingdom, we have all the richness and good that it comes with, and we can proceed in life knowing that Love, another word for God (according to 1 John), is providing for every need – including health and wholeness, belonging and community, steady supply. So we can live completely unselfishly knowing that there is an endless supply of good, not only for ourselves but for each and every one of us. There is no “us and them” in the kingdom. We are all given equally and abundantly.
As the next verse of the first text I shared states:
Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.[I Chronicles 29:12
So we can have it all, when we humbly acknowledge our true source of all good. But you may say, wait a minute, that’s not what the world looks like… there are some that seem to have it all and some that seem to have nothing or very little. Well, when we align our thought with Love’s divine provision, we will find that it is there for us, even in the toughest circumstances. I find that in those moments when I give gratitude for what I do have, and lean into Divine Love, and trust, humbly acknowledge Love, God as the true source of all good, all harmony, all strength and provision, and get self out of the way, that the way opens up to answering each and every need.
And then I get to sing – How Great Thou Art… a song that always makes me feel a sense of God’s greatness and a deep sense of humility and awe. I love this version especially because of the beautiful, awe inspiring setting where they are singing.
While visiting friends in another city, I borrowed their car to get around. After a few days of driving, I needed to get more gas (petrol), and so I filled the tank. However the next evening when I was using the car to get back to my friends’ house after some meetings downtown, I was putting the car into reverse to pull out of my parking spot, the gas gauge went from full to empty, and the light came on indicating I needed to get gas right before my eyes. That’s strange, I thought… and I turned the car off and hopped out to look where I put the gas in the car and checked that the gas cap was secure. I got back in the car and restarted it, and the same thing happened. I was very confused because I knew I had just filled it the night before, so there was no way it could be utterly empty. I called my friend, who told me that it happens sometimes, when the tank is filled all the way, the computer “freaks out” and shows empty when it is really full. I certainly trust my friend, and yet I still asked if he was sure. He said yes, it has happened to his wife before and he assured me that I would be just fine and I would be able to make the hour drive back home to their place. I decided to 1) trust my friend, and 2) pray to calm my thought and feel a sense of Divine assurance. And sure enough, I made it to their house with no problems.
I was thinking about how this is a helpful analogy and was able to turn to it in the weeks following. It was tempting to believe the illusion of an empty gas tank because the was what the car was telling me, even though I knew with total certainty that I had filled the tank just the day before. Just like it was tempting to believe that my own “tank” was pretty empty after hosting a big holiday family feast and spending days preparing – cleaning, shopping, cooking – and then hosting. It was also tempting to buy into the illusion of sickness and contagion when supporting a friend both metaphysically and practically with visits and meals the following week who seemed to be suffering from in sickness. But each time before going in to visit, I would assert my freedom as an idea of God. And I really dove into this oft repeated passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures –
“When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust…” (p. 495).
I have heard this passage so often, I had almost become numb to its meaning and power. But I realized the picture before me of sickness or fatigue was an illusion, much like the gas tank. And when I cling to or turn whole-heartedly to God, the source of my life, health, wholeness and love, and understand my identity as God’s spiritual reflection and expression…and feel the allness and ever-presence of God’s love for me and everyone, including my friend, I was able to keep out fear and doubt and remain clear, calm and trusting in the truth and power of God’s love for us.
I thought about how an illusion is like mist or fog, clouding our clear view, but that is all that it is.
And when the light of truth shines, the fog dissipates and we can see more clearly the true picture before us.
I understood this passage in a deeper way and could see how it clearly applied to this situation supporting my friend. This seeming sense of sickness was not any more true about him, as Love’s perfect, divine creation, than the gas tank being empty. I could trust completely that neither of our tanks could ever be empty when our life is supplied and maintained by God who is our Life. With that I was so unimpressed with the symptoms that I could see right through them and was never susceptible to contagion. My friend also improved rapidly and had a complete healing shortly thereafter.
How are you seeing through the false picture or mirage of an empty gas tank, and trusting the truth of your being?