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The fear of want and the consequent desire to hoard and accumulate matter for one's personal defense is at the root of more sickness than is recognized at first sight. The dread of losing work, of someday being without employment, seems to be a fear at the hearts of thousands of men and women today. With this fear, so apparently widespread, enhanced by so much that is said and written about present conditions in the labor market history repeating its tale of trouble and scarcity, and with all the manifold false witnesses called up by the fearful to corroborate their statements, it is not surprising that Christian Science is being called upon to do a vast amount of healing on this question of work and supply.
Jesus said, "I must work the works of him that sent me;" and he also said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." If work inheres in divine Principle, God, then it must be forever manifested by the idea of Principle, spiritual man. Work, then, is a necessity of man's existence. But what is man's real work, that work which he was created to do? What is his work "in earth, as it is in heaven"? It is plain that the intelligence of divine Mind could never possess a useless idea. Each and every idea in Mind has its rightful purpose, its rightful use and service, its rightful place. If it were not so, the goodness and wisdom of the creator would be impugned, because there would then be no order, no beauty or intelligent purpose in the divine creation. There is but one work: it is the work of reflecting God, of expressing the nature of God; and it is wholly a spiritual activity. It must not be mistaken for its material counterfeits, toil and labor. It is the untiring action of the restful Mind, perpetually peaceful, forever joyous and free.
It is not of the slightest consequence what form real work takes to human sense, or in what situation it becomes plain; the work is always the same. If we take a pint of water and put it into a long, thin glass, it is a pint of water. Put the same water into a round kitchen bowl, and we still have a pint. It is the same water taking the form of that which contains it; but its use, its power to purify and refresh, is not altered by its form. So is it with us and our work. We may be entrusted with large affairs, endued with great authority, or our days may be spent in the routine of house, office, or school; it makes no difference whatever to the real nature of our work. Perhaps we think that our occupation is a disagreeable or nerve-racking one, our place in the scheme of things unsuited to our talents, our days spent in drudgery entirely devoid of interest. If such appears to be the case, a change is certainly necessary; but it must be with the worker, not necessarily with the work.
The work which God gives us to do is, in a certain sense, the same that He gave Jesus to do: it is to glorify His name upon the earth, by the faithfulness and loving-kindness with which we perform every duty. This, as George Herbert says, "makes drudgery divine;" but if it is divine, it is no longer drudgery; it is, instead, a perpetually recurring opportunity of proving God's perfection in detail. Love to God is always shown in service to mankind. This is how Jesus showed his love to God; therefore, there can be no other way for us to show it. It is a glory, not a shame, to be the servant of God and our neighbor. By love we serve one another. The service is passed on; none keeps it for himself: he but accepts it today, in order to enable him better to serve his neighbor tomorrow.
If this be our work, what effect can times and seasons have upon it? Can world conditions prevent our finding opportunities of serving and loving our neighbor, if we seek them earnestly? Can those who are manifesting this Christlikeness lack, or suffer hunger? There is too much need of faithful, intelligent, loving service for this to be possible. Sometimes, however, we fail to recognize our right place, because we have fixed our attention on some material condition, which we consider essential; and if this be not forthcoming exactly as we have designed it, we can see no place or opportunity suited for us. The remedy for this is to continue our service by using such opportunities as we have, confident that man exists at the standpoint of opportunity, and that each idea of God is always in its right place, doing its right work. Then our eyes will be opened to know just what steps to take to make this manifest. Opportunity belongs to today. It is always at our door; it has not passed, or been lost; it is here now, that is, where God is; it is not for a favored few, but for all.
When we are able to realize that the work of all men, though multiform in function and varied in form, is in essence the same, we see that the important question is not whether we are employer or employed, is not whether our position be high or low, but how faithfully and lovingly the work is done. In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul has much to say that is helpful regarding service. Each one, wherever his position on the social, business, or professional ladder may be, must work "not with eye-service," not with eager glance on the clock for the hour of release, but "with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men," for there is no "respect of persons with him."
Sometimes, however, in business or in the course of our work, we encounter a difficult situation, perhaps a client or fellow-worker who is hard to get on with. How is this to be overcome? How can we prevent making it personal? Experience in Christian Science shows that the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, "First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye," apply to conditions today. When we have removed the obstructing beam from our own eye, we can see more clearly how to analyze the thoughts which go to make up the situation; and by affirming the truth which our clarified consciousness is able to perceive, and by denying the opposite error, a change for the better is the invariable result. It then becomes clear to us that it is never a person who is apparently giving trouble; it is always conflicting, erroneous thought. We are enabled to detect the thought, fear, or false belief which is actuating the complaints, dictating the disagreeable letters, or prompting the questionable conduct. From this standpoint we can reject the belief that anything exists apart from the infinite Mind, in which there is no resentment or sense of injury, no lack of wisdom, no error at all. We find the patience we need; we gain the inspiration which enables us to make the goodwill we ourselves honestly feel, so that discord and distrust are replaced by mutual confidence and esteem.
In order to be successful in our work, we must have a right estimate of success. We must know that it is not the success of a material self, but the success of the manifestation of divine Mind which we seek in every department of work and effort. The measure of our success will be the measure of our reflection of God, of the clearness with which we show forth His attributes, such as justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness. We must be on the alert lest we allow any belief in injustice, ingratitude, or dishonesty to rob us of any good which we have the right to reflect. Many people are hampered for years with an encumbering belief of injustice. They see it in belief everywhere, oppressing and overshadowing with its dark pall the lives of themselves and the rest of mankind. All the time it is not injustice that is having this darkening effect: it is their own belief in the reality of injustice which is virtually declaring that there are circumstances in which God's law is not at work. Replace the belief of injustice with confidence in the power of God's law of Truth and Love, and the circumstances change. Stop believing in unfairness or dishonesty as realities, stop resenting them, and they will cease even to appear to govern the circumstances about which such bitter complaint is being roused.
If our work is done through divine intelligence, it is good very good; and the goodness will be acknowledged gratefully and promptly. We need have no fear. No envy, prejudice, or fear of incompetence or failure can declare our work unsatisfactory, or limit our talents or opportunities, or delay our success; for reliance on divine Mind, God, produces honest work and intelligent methods. We cannot, in reality, be the objects of persecution, dislike, or scorn, because no child of God can think anything about man that is not true. The work we thus do is wanted, and gives pleasure and satisfaction to all with and for whom it is done, as well as to us in the doing of it. We have all we need for our work. There is no lack or limitation of means wherewith to do good; we have no lack of good, nor has anyone with whom we are connected or associated. Since there is no discord in the Mind which is God, and since "in him we live, and move, and have our being," it is in Him that we transact our business also.
"Godliness with contentment is great gain," says the Scripture; but a sense of contentment is seldom met with in the hurrying throng, looking for life and work in matter. Discontent with his position, with his surroundings, with the reward of his work, will rob one of the happiness which is his for the taking. If we cannot always do what we like, we can always like what we do, when we regard it from the spiritual standpoint. Contentment is not at all the same thing as self-satisfaction or lack of ambition. Contentment comes when we think more of Love than of self, more of what we can give than of what we can get.
We cannot measure success or contentment in terms of money. To possess these in abundance, it is not necessary that each successive year should see us making more money or earning a larger salary. If we are honestly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, plenty for our simple needs will be added. But we must keep our needs simple, not begin to desire great material possessions also, for to consider and to dispense these takes valuable time; and they distract attention from the spiritual goal. "Having food and raiment let us be therewith content," says the apostle. If we are occupied with the work which our Father has given us to do, we shall love it, we shall be content; nor shall we lack food and raiment in abundance, at any time. As long as we think rightly, we shall bless others; we shall do our proper work for God. His reward is with Him; therefore where God is, our reward is also. So why take anxious thought? Betrayed by human ambition, stripped of his accumulated riches and power, Cardinal Wolsey, in Shakespeare's play, "Henry VIII," exclaims:
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
The best insurance is faithfully to serve our God at all times, instead of obeying the reigning beliefs of the so-called human mind. Christian Science teaches us how to bring such blessings to the world that there is no fear that someday we may become a burden to others. To the servant of God and the lover of humanity, time brings only a ripening of wisdom, power, and insight. No claim of age or youth, of lack of strength or lack of experience, of insufficient capital, of labor conditions, of time or place, can prevent us from obeying God's law of supply and demand. "Divine Mind rightly demands man's entire obedience, affection, and strength," Mrs. Eddy tells us on page 183 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;" and man's supply of these is already provided. "No reservation is made for any lesser loyalty," our Leader adds, because there is no need for any other loyalty. Loyalty to divine Principle will mean loyalty to the government of our church and country, to our superior officers wherever we may be placed, to all above and around us; because loyalty to the greater inevitably includes loyalty to the less.
"Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need," we read on page 494 of Science and Health. Divine Love always has supplied and always will supply each one with his or her right work, right place, right and just reward. This can be lovingly accepted without fear of trespassing upon the rights or opportunities of others, because there is enough and to spare for all in the infinitude of good. No one else can do our work for us; neither can any belief of jealousy, envy, or competition rob us of our rightful work in any way. We can recognize our own, and our own can recognize us; we can do the work that belongs to us, and do it perfectly, unhampered by fear of failure. No one can ever be out of work when he knows his work to be the manifestation of infinite Love; he can trust God to supply him with the opportunities he needs. Our beloved Leader, who gave us an example of tireless, loving work for God and humanity, says (Message for 1900, p. 2), "The song of Christian Science is, 'Work work work watch and pray.'"
The Christian Science Journal, June, 1923
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