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What can we give to others?

From the May 2013 issue of The Christian Science Journal

First appeared in the April 2013 issue of The Herald of Christian Science. Originally written in Spanish.

Many times, perplexed by all the needs that surround us, we want to help others, but don’t know how or what may be the most effective way to do it. 

Patriarchs and prophets in the Bible, including Jesus and his followers, left an inspiring spiritual legacy to humanity that today continues to help and guide many people. Each one of them had a unique way of presenting a more spiritual concept of the nature of God and man’s relationship with Him. They left behind a material concept of divinity represented by a sculpture or an element of nature.

 These biblical thinkers’ spiritual understanding of the presence of God, divine Love, filling all space and governing all, was manifested in the way they solved the specific challenges they faced. Such is the case of the prophet Elijah raising the son of a widow in Zarephath (see I Kings 17:17-24); or the prophet Elisha saving the sons of the prophets from food poisoning in a stew of wild gourds (see II Kings 4:38-41). 

Jesus, the master Christian, taught that God is Spirit and that we need to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Jesus had such an understanding of the nature and power of God, governing man made in His image and likeness, that he expressed in his life the power of the Christ to heal. This is why he was able to heal thousands of people, freeing them from sin, disease, even death. Jesus’ teachings included in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5, 6, 7) show us the way to live life in its spiritual dimension, to live in peace, health, and safety. This path of spiritual progression was left for all of us to follow.

God, infinite good, being the inexhaustible source of all good is like a fountain of love that never dries up.

What relationship is there between what we know about the nature of God and our ability to give to others? God, infinite good, being the inexhaustible source of all good is like a fountain of love that never dries up. God loves His whole creation, unfolds all good to everyone, and is the source that satisfies whatever need we may have.

God being Love itself, we as His children are inevitably the full expression of Love. Therefore, it is natural for us to give, to share His goodness with others. Giving to others can’t hurt us or diminish the good we already have. In doing good to others we are also benefited.

The Apostle Paul says, “God loves the man who gives cheerfully. God can give you more than you can ever need, so that you may always have sufficient for yourselves and enough left over to give to every good cause. …He who gives the seed to the sower and bread to eat, will give you the seed of generosity to sow and will make it grow into a harvest of good deeds done” (II Corinthians 9:7-10, J.B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English, Revised Edition). 

Here Paul is speaking not only about having the necessary material supply, but also the spiritual ideas, the illumination and spiritual power to help others. So when one gives to others, our families and we are blessed by still having everything we need.  

So, what can we give to others, thus expressing a higher form of good that cannot decline or be lost?

In order to help others it is important to overcome indifference. Sometimes it seems we are so busy dealing with our own affairs that we feel we have no time for others. This mental setting of indifference prevents us from seeing opportunities to give. It’s like wearing sunglasses and thinking the day is cloudy, because the sunglasses make us see everything gray. The sunlight is right there; we only need to remove our glasses to appreciate the light.

How can we overcome indifference? By recognizing that it is not part of our nature as children of divine Love. Our true nature is loving, considerate, and generous, attentive to everything that goes on around us. And we can always live expressing this truth about our being.

Our most valuable gift to others is that love that doesn’t expect anything in return. The love that never criticizes nor condemns and sees in others only what God sees: the son or daughter of God, spiritual, healthy, and free. There are many instances of this spiritual love in the life of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Imbued with this pure love, she often healed others only seeing in them the spiritual creation of God.

For example, a lady who lived in Concord, in the United States, was paralyzed on one side, lived in poverty and had a very unhappy home. So one day she went out, and saw many people walking in the street. Out of curiosity she followed them to Pleasant View, the house where Eddy was giving a talk to a multitude. Eventually, the lady left discouraged because she was so far away that she had not been able to hear a word. She stopped in the street and began weeping. Then she saw horses approaching. She looked at them and recognized in the carriage the same lady who had been talking from the balcony of that house. She wanted to see her more closely. When the carriage passed in front of her, Eddy leaned forward and looked at her. There were no words, but the woman was instantly healed of her paralysis. And when she returned to her home found the home situation had been healed (see Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Healer, pp. 192-193).

Our true nature is loving, considerate, and generous, attentive to everything that goes on around us.

This pure love also finds expression in our prayers for others, prayer that is inspired by knowing that God’s presence and government are in control in every situation.

A few months ago, one of my daughters came home from school crying in desperation. Two blocks away from home, the bus she was in ran into a motorcyclist. The driver was arguing with a passenger and got distracted. The motorcyclist had been thrown across the street unto the sidewalk, where he fell breaking a flowerbed. People soon surrounded him.

I asked my daughter to stop crying and start praying the Lord’s Prayer. I also prayed. A few minutes later I felt prompted to go to the crash site and see how I could help. The young man was lying on his back and appeared to be in pain. There were only a couple of people with him. I asked him how I could help. He was trying to get in touch with a relative with his cell phone. After he reached the relative, I asked him to close his eyes and relax, that I was going to take care of him until his relative and the ambulance arrived. He told me his back, legs, and head hurt a lot; his helmet was broken by the impact. I calmed him down and prayed, while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.

I prayed with ideas from the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. There she explains that no accidents can occur in the kingdom of God, under the rule of divine Providence. I recognized that this young man was a child of God, continuously guided and protected by God, that he had never fallen from the caring embrace of divine Love. Surrounded by Love’s goodness, he could suffer no injury or pain. Peace, health, and love filled all space, and he was safe. Soon he told me he was feeling better, so we talked until his cousin and the ambulance arrived. Before I left I gave him my phone number.

I received a call from him a month later. He wanted to come see me. He told me that he had only suffered a slight injury to his feet, and now he was fine. He thanked me for my help, and we talked about how much good and justice was expressed in his life, and how he could trust that the insurance company would cover the repairs of his motorcycle.

This opportunity to help another in an emergency filled me with happiness and gratitude to God.

What a joy to be able to help others in this way!

Mónica Esefer Passaglia is a Christian Science practitioner, teacher, and lecturer.

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