"Give ye them to eat"

That the incident in the life of Christ Jesus, wherein he fed the multitude with the few loaves and fishes, made a profound impression upon those who witnessed it is proved by the fact that it is the only one of the Master's miracles which is recorded by all four of the gospel writers. It was of unusual interest to them doubtless for the same reason which makes it of unusual interest to us, because we are all endeavoring, in greater or less degree, to demonstrate the universality and availability of ever present supply.

The human mind appears to have undergone but little change with the passing of the centuries, and one of its most insistent and fundamental beliefs seems to be that it is always lacking something. What this specific lack may be differs, of course, with each individual. With some it is a deficiency of some material thing deemed essential to happiness and well-being, while with others the need may be of an entirely different nature; but by whatever name it calls itself, it always harks back to the same basic error in the end, namely, the belief in a selfhood apart from God, unsupplied and incomplete.

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The story referred to above is so familiar to the earnest Bible student that it needs but the briefest repetition here. Most of us have almost pictured the scene, the "desert place" with its bleakness and desolation, the motley company who had followed Jesus there, dusty and travel-strained, but still wide-eyed with wonder at the gracious words which fell from his lips, the little group of anxious disciples begging him to send the people away to buy themselves food, and the figure standing in their midst, pausing for a moment in his discourse to attend to what may have seemed to him like an interruption.

What would he do? They listened, silent and intent. Then they heard that quiet voice reply, almost in surprise, "They need not depart; give ye them to eat." How simple, from his point of view, it all seemed; and how he must have yearned to have his words arouse in them that quick response for which he looked! But all of them, apparently, were so mesmerized by the obvious inadequacy of what they believed to be their only supply, that their only answer was to point to the lad near by with his tiny quota of matter. "What are they among so many?" they inquired dully. And then a silence must have fallen. With sublime patience Jesus quietly turned to the lad with the loaves and the fishes. "Bring them hither to me," he said. And we know the rest.

To-day, as of old, the Christ still saith, "Give ye them to eat," but is the loving admonition always heeded? Are we, as Christian Scientists, always ready to supply the need of those hungering ones who may call upon us for help; or do we think that someone else can do it better? Are we as quick to prove the truths of our religion in the one practical way which Jesus demanded, as we are to talk about them? If not, should not those gentle words of old come echoing back to us from across the Galilean hills: "They need not depart; give ye them to eat"?

Our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, tells us on page 37 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science, "It is possible, — yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, — to follow in some degree the example of the Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness." We are all practitioners, in the true sense of the word, if we are Christian Scientists; for to know is to be able to prove. What would be thought of one who should say, I am a musician, but I never make any music? It is mortal mind which would divide the ranks of the Christian Scientists into practitioners and nonpractitioners; and in this connection it is well to remember that it is this same so-called carnal mind which divides, or would attempt to divide, everything else as well, after its own fancy and according to its own methods. It would divide God's creation into two kinds; insist that instead of there being those who have spiritual being alone there are also mortals, and that these so-called mortals are of all sorts—good and bad, sick and well, high and low, rich and poor, happy and miserable, old and young. Divine Love, however, knows no such classification. In God's sight there is but one classification, and the Apostle John beautifully refers to it when he writes, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God."

All students of Christian Science are not standing before the world as advertised practitioners with cards in The Christian Science Journal; there are many practicing this simple, practical religion while at their daily duties in the home, the office, the schoolroom, the workshop, the train, the street car, alone in mountain fastnesses, or in the midst of a great city, who may be regarded as practitioners. Wherever one can think rightly, he can practice Christian Science.

Let us free ourselves and others from the narrow limits of human classification. Many a one has limited his whole life-work by accepting mortal mind's thought about him, and meekly remaining in the particular pigeonhole where he was first put. "We are all capable of more than we do," Mrs. Eddy states (Science and Health, p. 89). Let us rise in rebellion against any unjust decree of any sort, either for ourselves or for our brother. It is not necessary to rent an office in order to heal the sick. "They need not depart," said Jesus. No one need "depart" to find the omnipresent God.

Then let each one look resolutely away from that which to-day, in his experience, stands for the few loaves and fishes, that inadequate supply of money, that seeming lack of opportunity, that wrong sense of environment or limited ability or education, that physical disability, or whatever it may be, to see instead Love's ever present abundance. Let us rejoice that the opportunity is ours to satisfy not only our own needs with this spiritual supply, but to minister as well to the needs of those around us. There is so much for every Christian Scientist to do if he have eyes to see and ears attuned to hear those voiceless cries for help above the tumult of the crowd. There is a hunger of the heart more insistent and acute than the cry for bread. There are those walking in our midst to-day, brave, silent, uncomplaining, who are starving for kindness, for just a little love, for a word of encouragement, for appreciation, for some measure of cooperation, for a friendly hand reaching out in the darkness. Remembering such, may we not well echo that prayer of Solomon's for "an understanding heart" which discerns the need of the way-weary, the lonely, the homesick, the disappointed, and is never too busy to tell them of, and bring them to, the Father's love, thereby feeding them with the very bread of heaven? If the faithful shepherd of the East in olden times was not content to go to his rest so long as a single one of his flock was still wandering, frightened and alone, outside the sheepfold, surely the love of the great Shepherd of the sheep is not less, since He holds them all in His tender care—not one left out, not one forgotten.

He who goes forth each day to his daily task, whatever it may be, with the deep, selfless desire in his heart to see only as God sees, and to know no other classification but the one which God knows, which is man in the divine image and likeness, will find that everyone with whom he comes in contact in the course of his work will be healthier, holier, and happier for having met him. And he will go to his rest at night rejoicing in the knowledge that whatever his material work may have been in the eyes of the world, his real work has been to prove that he already is, in the highest sense of the word, a Christian Science practitioner.

What Can We Do for God?
February 25, 1928

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