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How we can contribute most effectively

From the January 1994 issue of The Christian Science Journal

I learned an important lesson in my first year of graduate school. In one of my classes, the students and the professor discussed various theories of design. Actually, the others discussed them, and I mostly listened; I didn't contribute much. At the end of the class I turned in the final, and only, project. I got an A on the project, but my grade in the class was a B. When I asked about the difference in the grades, the professor was blunt. He said that although I understood the subject, I didn't share what I knew with the class, so I didn't deserve the higher grade. He was right, and I knew it.

Since that time, I've come to realize the moral necessity of sharing. The essence of Christianity is promoting the welfare of others. There's also a spiritual necessity for sharing, which underlies the moral demand. Giving of ourselves is a natural manifestation of the fact that man expresses the divine nature. The book of Genesis tells us that man is created in the image of God. Compassion and unselfishness, then, are the necessary outcome of the spiritual fact that God is Love and man is Love's image. The expression of justice is the inevitable manifestation of the fact that He is Truth. Insight and wisdom derive from the fact that He is Mind.

When we give from the basis of a spiritual understanding of God and man, our giving can't help being effective. Christ Jesus showed us how powerful spiritually based giving is through his inspired precepts and through his works, which include healings of paralysis, blindness, and leprosy. On one occasion he fed five thousand with a few loaves and fishes, and on another, he delivered the disciples from a storm at sea.