Finding security in the divine economy
Mention banks and Wall Street, and conversations on the economy often gravitate to its greedy, immoral, and unscrupulous aspects. Or, they may bring up fears of unpredictability, even volatility, along with a gloomy outlook of lack. Yet the oldest definition of the word economy has to do with responsibility, stability, and lawfulness. The word comes from the Greek oikonomia, meaning “management of a household.” The Scriptures associate management of a house or household with wisdom: “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established” (Proverbs 24:3). This assures us that wisdom gives us the insight and inspiration to manage all our affairs and activities effectively.
Jesus takes this a step further, indicating that a spiritual understanding of his teachings is the wisdom that erects and maintains this “house” in a stable and harmonious way: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24). Jesus said this at the conclusion of his Sermon on the Mount, his instructional teachings on love. So an individual who adheres to these teachings is a wise man who manages his house or economy on the basis of Christ’s teachings—on the laws of divine Love.
Mary Baker Eddy recognized that all effective church work begins from this basis. She included the following By-Law in the Manual of The Mother Church: “God requires wisdom, economy, and brotherly love to characterize all the proceedings of the members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist” (p. 77). This goes beautifully hand in hand with Jesus’ teachings on the subject. And it states that “God requires” this of us; in other words, the demand is divine, not human.
There is a divine economy, belonging to God, that goes beyond the human and is above the fluctuations of human economic systems. This divine economy, or the spiritual activity that is under God’s governance, is characterized by unlimited abundance as well as orderliness. Jesus assures us of the former when he says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2) and “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (10:10). And Mrs. Eddy writes that evil, which would include unscrupulous, lawless, and unethical behavior, is not included in this divine economy: “To the physical senses, the strict demands of Christian Science seem peremptory; but mortals are hastening to learn that Life is God, good, and that evil has in reality neither place nor power in the human or the divine economy” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 327).
The divine economy is stable—a continuous flow of spiritual good—not chaotic or unpredictable.
It is worth noting that Webster’s 1913 dictionary, which was published close to when the final edition of Science and Health was published, includes this definition of economy: “the system of rules and regulations by which anything is managed.” That sense of orderliness according to rules hints at the divine laws that regulate or manage the divine economy. This economy is stable—a continuous flow of spiritual good—not chaotic or unpredictable. It does not operate from the belief that some will get more than others or that the goal is the indulgence of material wants. Instead, it operates on the basis of God lovingly meeting the needs of all in equal measure through His abundant goodness.
The divine laws that proceed from divine Principle, or God, constitute the economy, the divine Science, of being. Explaining that we can operate from the basis that God, the divine Mind, is superior to material evidence and make Mind our “basis of operation irrespective of matter,” Mrs. Eddy writes, “Both Science and consciousness are now at work in the economy of being according to the law of Mind, which ultimately asserts its absolute supremacy” (Science and Health, p. 423). This economy is ever operative and available. It is not separate from our being, but is the eternal activity of God regulating and governing His entire creation. It is present everywhere, including in our homes, businesses, and churches.
Years ago, a church I attended called a meeting to reveal that we had only enough funds for two years, after which we would have to close our doors. Our monthly financial statements suggested that what we brought in would never match what we spent. Some members recommended that we “accept the inevitable” and close our doors, while others proposed that we trim our expenses and tighten our belts. We decided to make many practical cuts, but we also prayed about the situation, knowing that God and His expression of good was not limited by our finances. We discussed the importance of church and the fact that our church existed to serve and bless the community from the basis of “wisdom, economy, and brotherly love.”
Not long after this, to our great surprise, a bequest arrived that would meet the needs of our church for the foreseeable future. But the greatest blessing was how this situation had made us think more deeply about the purpose of church and its role in our community.
This applies to individuals as well. When we turn our thought to seeing our unique, God-given purpose in serving and blessing mankind, we are able to discern God’s loving provision of the means and opportunity for doing so. God’s economy includes this rule of reciprocity: As we bless others, we are blessed.
On the walls of many churches of Christ, Scientist, is this assurance from Science and Health: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). This is really the basis of the divine economy. No one can ever be outside this infinite, divine Love, and each of us can find safety, security, and supply in this divine economy.