One of the elements that unite the members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, is their joint effort to help the world feel the presence of the Comforter that Christ Jesus referred to (see John 14:16, 26; 16:7). Why do people join church? There are many reasons, some of them personal, such as getting a boost from others in getting closer to God and praying more effectively. The more important reason is that membership offers an opportunity to join in reaching out to the community. The Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, once said to a convention of Christian Scientists that they came together "... mutually to aid one another in finding ways and means for helping the whole human family ..." (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 98). The master Christian expected his followers to act as "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14).

It is natural for us to want to share the light of Christ with our community and the world, but there are times when church members are overwhelmed by this task. They feel they don't have sufficient means to make any kind of impact. Not enough members, not enough money, or not enough inspiration to come up with fresh ideas. The Bible's example of the prophet Elisha offers insights on how to pray about this.

At the time of Elisha, groups of prophets lived in a type of religious order, where they learned from more experienced prophets. A member or disciple of such an order had died. He left behind a wife and two sons as well as some unpaid debts. His widow had no clue how to pay them off. Her creditor wanted to have her children as bondmen, in payment for the debts. In her desperation, she went to Elisha, who had been her husband's mentor. "And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil." In her eyes, that oil was hardly worth mentioning, but under the prophet's direction, her sons borrowed empty containers from her neighbors, and she was able to fill all of them with the oil she had "in the house." She was able to pay her debts, and she and her sons could live off the rest (see II Kings 4:1–7).

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June 6, 2005

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