"Durable riches"

All through the recorded history of the human race, as found in the Scriptures, are many references to wealth and riches, all of which point to the metaphysical significance of these terms above and beyond the mere belief in material possessions. It is interesting to note that the word "wealth" is derived from "weal," hence we have "well;" while its synonyms are "welfare; prosperity ; good." As for riches, it seems that the word originally signified power, and its application is very wide. We speak of a rich soil, of rich food, a rich voice, a rich character, etc., but it is sadly true that most mortals base their concepts of riches upon worldly possessions, though the wise man said that these "make themselves wings" and fly away. It is he, however, who tells us of "durable riches and righteousness," which he declares to be better than the finest gold and the choicest silver.

As we ponder the great characters of sacred history, we discover that many of them were not only "rich toward God," to quote the Master's words, but Abraham, who forsook all in a worldly way, became very rich. This was also true of many of his descendants, notably so of David and Solomon, and of some at the present day. Abraham was further told by God that all the nations of the earth were to be blessed through his seed, and Paul, in spite of his own Jewish prejudices, declared, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Mrs. Eddy's definition of Abraham as given in Science and Health (p. 579) greatly illumines this statement. It reads: "Fidelity; faith in the divine Life and in the eternal Principle of being," etc.

All of this indicates how durable riches may be gained, but we have the final word in this declaration of Christ Jesus: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." This statement has a remarkable illustration in the nineteenth chapter of Luke, where we are told of Zacchæus, who was so eager to see Jesus and whose sincere desire was quickly perceived by the Master. It seems that Zacchæus was rich, but so humble withal that he would not have dared invite the great Teacher to his house. Jesus went there, however, in spite of the taunts of the self-righteous, and in the gentle sunshine of Love the timid Zacchæus was emboldened to tell of his vast charities; and what was even more, of his keen sense of the demands of justice. He said: "If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."

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Lecture in The Mother Church
February 21, 1914

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