Reproving Sham Poverty

Jesus was once obliged to say to his disciples, "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always." This was after they had expressed their indignation because a woman had anointed him with "very precious ointment" out of "an alabaster box." "To what purpose is this waste?" they protested, "For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor." Humanity has a way of harping upon the subject of sham poverty while inexhaustible riches are ever present and ever available. It indulges in poor thoughts in the very presence of the Christ, Truth. Moreover, it is significant that according to Matthew's gospel Judas, who seems to have been the chief protester against this alleged waste, immediately after Jesus' rebuke sought out the chief priests in order to bargain with them for his Master's betrayal. Thus the woman with her empty alabaster box was proven to be splendidly rich and the false disciple with the thirty pieces of silver in hand abjectly poor.

Christian Science, which substitutes metaphysics for physics, shows that the terms "rich" and "poor" are to be interpreted mentally and not materially. On pages 33 and 34 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy describes the poor as "the meek in heart" and "the receptive thought." This settles the question as to a legitimate poverty, meaning thereby a mental condition which is conscious of the need of spiritual food. Conversely, the desire for material things produces a sham poverty, a mental state which clamors for what has no real existence and rejects Truth. This type of poverty must be laid bare and corrected in order that true riches may appear.

Man is really rich in proportion to his consciousness that he has rightful dominion "over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Into such a consciousness God pours priceless riches. Jesus was rich beyond compare because he was ever receptive of the infinite resources of good. He who could turn the water into wine, who could find money in the fish's mouth, secure at his need a "large upper room furnished and prepared," and feed the five thousand with a seemingly small provision, surely understood true riches. The wilful sense of sham poverty which Jesus rebuked is not infrequently tinged with pride or self-righteousness, and argues somewhat after this fashion, "I do not want to be rich, I only want my simple wants supplied;" but behind this assertion may lurk the thought addressed to an unknown god, "I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust." The poor thinker prefers an assured income, if it be ever so little, rather than be obliged to live from day to day by demonstration, by "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

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Physical Healing
November 11, 1916

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