The Church Financial situation looked bleak. At our first church meeting in a new city, my husband and I learned that almost half of the members had left because they wanted to build a new church. This meant that the remaining members were faced with half the donation income previously received.
The financial committee chair suggested ways the church could cut back on expenses. The need to cut back seemed logical; but to me, it seemed like a step backward. Before we made any budget cuts, I suggested we first set up a metaphysical committee to pray about these needs. The church board agreed and asked me to chair the committee. While I had never served on a metaphysical committee, our previous church had held successful metaphysical meetings, and I knew God would help us find a solution to our financial needs.
My husband had been sent to this area by The Mother Church to be the Christian Science Minister for Armed Services Personnel, and so our move here felt like a God-directed step for us. I began looking for a God-given solution.
I started by researching what the Bible says about supply, and two passages stood out to me. The first has Christ Jesus’ words: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). The second is God speaking: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
Giving is not just a nice thing to do; it is the result of divine, spiritual law.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, also writes about giving in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures on page 79: “Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us.”
These passages paved the way to realizing that there was a balance between giving and receiving. Giving is not just a nice thing to do; it is the result of divine, spiritual law. Our giving and receiving both come from God, and both are needed and inspire each other.
With this insight, our church’s metaphysical committee thought about how we might be able to give—not necessarily in financial ways, but give of ourselves. We wondered whether we could be more welcoming and attentive to visitors. There were military bases close by, and so we considered how we might be more inclusive and helpful to military personnel who were assigned to them. This inspiration resulted in our church forming a welcoming committee to embrace our wider community.
We also looked up articles about supply in the Christian Science periodicals and placed them on a table in the Reading Room for all to read. We continually refreshed the tables as we found new articles. In fact, we were so inspired about giving that cutting back expenses wasn’t brought up again.
After a while, some of the members on the metaphysical committee talked about a previous desire to move our Christian Science Reading Room to a location that was more public. Attempts to do so had been to no avail, but this spiritual inspiration kept bubbling to the surface as we thought about giving. We decided to visit the manager of the new location. This progressive step was a direct result of opening our thoughts to ideas about giving.
We found out that the storefronts were under new management, and that the new manager was very open to the idea of renting to us. In fact, he said that his sister was a Christian Scientist and that he had one storefront available.
New members joined the church, and some members returned who had before left.
As wonderful as this was, I began to have some doubts, because this was the first plan from the committee that had involved any costs. Yet at a church meeting, a member recounted the history of the Reading Room and how, with prayer, the members had been able to relocate it to its present street level location. To have this new site open up seemed like a continued answer to their original prayer, and the motion to relocate the Reading Room passed. Quickly after the church members voted, we learned about a loan with a very low interest rate, which enabled us to remodel the new site. I was in awe.
In a short time we had a lovely new Reading Room, and the loan was paid off within a year. The church was able to meet its expenses, and there was no more talk about cutting back. My husband and I opened our home to the military personnel that were stationed in the area, and the church members continued to welcome the military as well as other visitors to church. New members joined the church, and some members returned who had before left. In addition, in a few years, a lovely new church building was built, designed by a church member who was an architect. Compared to the first church meeting we attended, this would have seemed unbelievable.
The lesson I learned as a young church member through this experience was the unbroken relationship between giving and receiving. When we have a need—whether it’s for resources, health, relationships—giving may not seem like a viable option. But opening ourselves up to the idea of giving will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” This is the spiritual truth.