"What hast thou in the house?"

A Woman in debt went to the prophet Elisha for aid when the creditors were coming (see II Kings 4:1–7). This widow told him how very dire her situation was. Surprisingly, Elisha asked her, "What hast thou in the house?" Her response was, "Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil." Elisha proceeded to tell her to borrow "not a few" containers and to fill them all with the oil in her pot. What he said must have been based on the understanding that Spirit, God, is the ever-present source of supply for all His creation. Is it possible he realized that if oil was truly all the woman had, it must be exactly what she needed? The woman obediently followed Elisha's direction by pouring out oil from the little pot into numerous containers. Only when the woman ran out of containers to fill did the oil flow stop. Following Elisha's request, she sold the oil to pay her debt. This not only relieved the family's immediate burden of debt, but the recognition of Spirit's provision of abundant good continued to supply their needs even after the crisis was over.

It might be said that the woman was required to look away from the limitation and lack symbolized by an almost empty house. Elisha helped her to look to the spiritual resources of good already present. "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever," says the twenty-third Psalm. In Science and Health Mary Baker Eddy gives an enlightened interpretation of this line: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever" (p. 578). The abundance of good is naturally apparent when human consciousness becomes attuned to God, ever-present divine Love.

Christ Jesus identified how the infinite supply of good relates practically to our daily experience. He said, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things" (Matt. 12:35). It should be understood that the "good things" Jesus refers to here are not material, but they are tangible and definitely capable of meeting the human need. They are the things of Spirit, God, and are an inexhaustible supply of good, spiritual ideas and qualities that find their source in God. Substance is Spirit, and its evident supply of right ideas is not material or subject to the limitations of mortal law. Right ideas are completely preserved by spiritual law. True substance can't be lost through use, misuse, deterioration, age, mismanagement, theft, nor can it become outmoded or unnecessary. Man as the expression of Spirit includes all good. Jesus' words "out of the good treasure of the heart" are a reference to the consciousness of ever-present good.

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Dear Sentinel
April 10, 1995

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