ALMOST all of us, at some time, seem to be confronted with the question of supply in one form or another. Not many of us reach the desperate point of the widow of Zarephath, who said to Elijah that she was preparing to cook her last bit of food for herself and her son, "that we may eat it, and die" (I Kings 17: 12). But often we do wonder just how we are going to meet our legitimate financial obligations, or we despair of gaining a sense of abundant good in some other direction.
It was through Elijah that the angel message which broke the mesmerism of lack came to the widow. Her thought had obviously become so filled with limitation that she was thinking of the little bit of meal and oil in her house as her only supply. She did not realize that she had all of God's tender love and care around her and that His angel thoughts were there, waiting to be taken into consciousness. She was so submerged in despair and lack that she apparently even forgot her normal inclination to think of a stranger's needs.
When Elijah said to her (verse 13), "Fear not; . . . make me ... a little cake first," he was being not selfish but wise in turning her thought to unselfishness and a more spiritual concept of supply and away from herself and her problem. When, through receptivity of God, divine Love, she did make the cake for Elijah, her supply was immediately manifested in a way which took care of her human need. Making "a little cake" seems to symbolize the thing we most need to do in order to open the door of our consciousness to a sense of God's abundant good.
Sometimes the "little cake" which we need to make is the expression of enough love to overcome a deep-seated fear, or resentment, or self-righteousness, or human egotism. Sometimes it is the expression of enough faith in God to cease to cling to matter as having power to help or hurt us. Or the "little cake" may be a need to claim our true selfhood as God's son and so rule out a sense of inferiority which argues that we are not so well equipped as others to make a success of our lives.
There is always something we can do about any false concept we are holding of man. And through the understanding of Christian Science, God shows us how to do this. Mary Baker Eddy makes the way to heaven, harmony, very plain. She says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 242), "It is to know no other reality—to have no other consciousness of life—than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses."
Sometimes our first step in rising above the thought of lack is pointed out through a spiritual idea. But often we have to discipline mortal mind by seemingly forcing ourselves to take some human footstep. As we must first assemble the ingredients in making a cake, so we must demonstrate the spiritual elements that go to make up a consciousness filled with good before we can erase the dominant error involved in a problem.
A smile, when we feel much more inclined to frown, will often prove to be the first step toward the ultimate goal of complete conquest over negative thinking. The simplest unselfed act, a small kindness done another, can start us toward the solution of the most difficult problem.
Why is this so? Because in expressing good, we are putting ourselves on the side of God, who is unlimited good, rather than on the side of evil and limitation. We are bringing our thinking into closer conformity with God's law, which is always operating for good, supplying us with just the right thoughts to take us nearer the realization of infinite good.
Once during the depression years of the nineteen-thirties, we were down to our last quarter of a dollar, which we held on to desperately for two or three days. Then, taking our first step in the direction of good, we used the last gasoline in the car to visit a Christian Science practitioner. After listening to her convincing statements of God's loving, constant, and impartial care for all His children, we left in a happy and uplifted state of thought.
As we got into the car, our small son asked if we might buy a little weekly magazine for him and go for a short ride around the water front. My husband and I were about to say that of course we would not spend our last quarter for anything so unnecessary, but instead we both replied at the same time that we would do as he asked. We realized that God's good was boundless and that holding on to matter would do us no good.
We bought a gallon of gasoline with twenty cents of the quarter and went for a short but cooling ride, joyously voicing thoughts of God's abundance. And then we bought the child his magazine for five cents. The next day a few dollars came to us unexpectedly, and we used them for our needs with no fear of later being without money. In a day or so my husband began making sales that for weeks had seemed impossible.
At one time the loving and unselfish thought involved in the making of a pie so opened my consciousness to spiritual joy that self-pity was routed, and as a result I overcame an overwhelming sense of fear for a loved one. Also, a skin disease that had seemed to defy my best efforts for several years disappeared almost immediately.
Most Christian Scientists realize that putting God first can sometimes mean putting what we call church work first. But many forget to include as a "first thing" their subscribing for and support of the Christian Science literature, which is blessing the world immeasurably.
On the other hand, many of us have found that by refusing to listen to the arguments of mortal mind that say we cannot afford the literature and have not the time to read it anyway, we have proved supply to be as near to us as our own thinking. Sometimes our taking the initial step of subscribing for even one of the periodicals in obedience to our highest sense of good breaks the hold of limitation and brings rich blessings in many ways.
Jesus, the Way-shower, emphasized the putting of first things first. He said (Matt. 6:33), "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." And Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 192), "Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power."
Whenever we have an unsolved problem of any nature, we would do well to ponder the words of wisdom in the statement, "Make me ... a little cake first," and act on it—take a step in the direction of Spirit and away from matter. Then we shall find the Father, divine Love, hastening to meet us, putting all of the good that is in His kingdom at our disposal as did the father in the parable of the prodigal son.
Let us remember that the word "meet" connotes action, not passive waiting for something to come to us. We have first to start toward anything we are to meet. Let us start toward good now.