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"How many loaves have ye?"
In the account of the feeding of the multitude, given in the fifteenth chapter of Matthew's Gospel, it will be noticed that the disciples or students of the Master's teachings were following closely his every activity. Although on many previous occasions Jesus had furnished proof of his ability to meet immediately any adverse condition for himself or others, these faithful students were caught off guard by the evidence of lack apparent to the senses. They said, "This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals."
The Master instantly reversed these arguments, which were apparently dominant in the thought of his students. "They need not depart," he declared, "give ye them to eat," which statement was intended to assure them that the correct solution to this problem was at hand, and that they themselves possessed the means of solving it. "We have here but five loaves, and two fishes," they said. But the spiritual knowledge of Truth was what Christ Jesus was assuring them was the great essential. And his next instruction to them was, "Bring them hither to me." Their immediate compliance made way for the reception of the spiritual ideas which he knew his Father had provided to refresh, sustain, and maintain all of His children.
How often do we meet with similar circumstances today? Many who are contending with a problem of lack, whether it be lack of health, lack of employment, or lack of money, are bewildered by the insistent suggestions of the carnal mind that they are unable to meet their legitimate needs. "If only I had someone with influence to speak for me," or, "If I could procure more capital for my business," or, "If I could afford to go away, I might be able to regain my health," are some of the arguments to be met and overcome.
Just as in Jesus' time, so now, the same truth which he uttered and demonstrated is potent and available, and we can prove this if we will but turn our thoughts to the positive truth and use what we already have. One can accomplish a great deal by the right utilization of what one has. No student of Christian Science who has earnestly striven to obtain a spiritual understanding of the truths contained in the sacred Scriptures, through the aid of the inspired writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and who is conscientiously endeavoring to put this understanding to practical use, will be likely to become mesmerized by the suggestion that he does not possess sufficient understanding to solve any particular problem. He will immediately refute it and lay claim to his God-given power of dominion, and utilize it in accordance with the instructions contained in his textbooks. Lifting thought in gratitude to divine Love for even the small understanding of spiritual good which he possesses, and gratefully and willingly applying it in helping his fellow men, he will find the solution to his own problem, and learn something of what the disciples learned in the situation above referred to.
Jesus did not accept the suggestion of limitation or of a need for a change of locality in order to solve the problem. The only need was their awakening to the present abundance of spiritual good, and their ability to utilize it for the benefit of themselves and others.
He who is endeavoring to overcome a belief of lack will do well to pattern the master Christian. Instead of riveting his thought upon that which seems to be lacking, let him look within his consciousness and diligently observe, appreciate, and utilize those God-given qualities which he assuredly will find that he already possesses. Then, as he conscientiously expresses these qualities, the subtle suggestions of lack will be unable to find lodgment in his thought or to manifest themselves in his experience.
Even though one possessed material wealth, this would be of little value without the possession and utilization of those qualities essential to the successful accomplishment of any desirable undertaking, qualities such as intelligence, tact, honesty, foresight, loyalty, integrity, perseverance, and unselfishness.
Therefore, let us not concern ourselves so much with the material sense of lack, but joyfully cultivate and develop within our individual consciousness those God-given spiritual qualities which are so vital to our well-being, and which are ours by spiritual reflection. Utilizing them to the full extent of our present ability, we shall be fulfilling the admonition of our revered Leader (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 3): "Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more."
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