Human progress sometimes has a dark underside. For instance, many who went to the cities during the Industrial Revolution were plunged into squalor and despair. Today, the world is on the threshold of major new developments. As nations move forward to grapple with unknown challenges, we can help bring about progressive results through prayer based firmly on trust in God's direction.
"The true theory of the universe, including man, is not in material history but in spiritual development," writes Mary Baker Eddy. n1 "Inspired thought relinquishes a material, sensual, and mortal theory of the universe, and adopts the spiritual and immortal." n2 The Bible gives many examples of this truth in operation. The Israelites certainly were not the largest or richest of the peoples that could have become the "chosen" ones. Yet quite apart from their "material history," their "spiritual development" enabled them to become the first to embrace monotheism and to play a vital role as recipients of the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments.
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 547.
This same truth applies to individuals, too. For instance, Samuel was sent by God to anoint a successor to King Saul -- one to be chosen from Jesse's sons. After Jesse had called his sons together, Samuel looked them over, waiting for the spiritual impulsion that would indicate the right choice. The Bible reports: "HE looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." n3 The final choice in this case was David. He wasn't selected as a result of his external characteristics, but, as circumstances later confirmed, because of his well developed spiritual perception.
n3 I Samuel 16:6, 7.
This capacity for discerning the step that will lead to true, spiritual progress makes a vital difference in our choices. It enables us to cut through material wants to see the long-range view -- in effect, to live from an immortal standpoint. But we don't develop this capacity overnight. The Israelites didn't reach the Promised Land in a day; and David still had many challenges to face before he became king. Yet in both cases, the willingness to follow God's guidance was the pivotal factor for each advancing step.
We too can obtain the blessings that come from living in accord with God's law, and, to some degree, see the world advance toward the promised land of good for all mankind.
Individually, we can take the Ten Commandments and Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount as standards for dealing with others.We can strive to express Christlike qualities, such as kindness, justice, and wisdom. And since, in today's world, the neighbor Jesus told us to love is not just the one next door but may live half a world away, we should try constantly to expand the scope of our love for mankind. Of course there may be times when just loving the neighbor next door will be hard enough. But to whatever degree we can, we should broaden the range of our thoughts and prayers for the world.
On another scale we can support leaders and legislation that will benefit the greatest number instead of being primarily concerned with our own interests. This is not to say that our personal needs aren't important. Far from it! But we should widen our outlook to include gratitude for the blessings we have already and to pray for universal progress.
As we strive for greater spiritual discernment, we link ourselves with those Bible characters whose faith led them across many mental and physical thresholds. We can daily increase our capacity to love and to serve God wherever we are. Then the history of the new age we are entering will surely reflect evidence of mankind's further progress out of materiality's limitations and into true spiritual development. DAILY BIBLE VERSE God is light. I John 1:5