More productive committee meetings

NOT another meeting! You mean we have to get together again? Maybe this is the way a lot of people feel about committee work. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Believe it or not, there are some people who actually like committee meetings. I should know because I'm one of them.

Whether or not we find something beneficial in committee work largely depends on how we look at it. For example, we can go with the thought that the meeting is a wonderful opportunity to see God's law of harmony in action. And that God is governing everyone there - not only us but the others too. Perhaps we forget this sometimes, or never even think in those terms. Yet our meetings can be greatly enriched and harmonized through the realization that God speaks to all His children; that divine Mind imparts intelligence to each one of us.

What's the purpose of committee work? Isn't it to get people to come to an agreement, to selflessly focus on an issue of common interest? Participating in a group decision or action requires humility and love. Self-willed opinions have to yield to what's best for the whole, even though the final decision may not be what we'd choose if we were acting independently.

Christ Jesus' teachings can be very useful when it comes to individuals working together as a group. He once said, ''Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.'' n1 What a wonderful purpose for any church board, negotiation panel, or other committee! When people come together to put self-will aside, ready to reshape fixed human opinion and to express the Christ-spirit, the universal healing power of Christ is felt, and differences are resolved.

n1 Matthew 18:20.

Jesus also said, ''I and my Father are one.'' n2 Through his life and teachings the Master showed that we are all, in truth, inseparable from God as His spiritual offspring. Does the fact of our individual unity with God polarize our positions and separate us from each other? Not at all. God does not divide us. The understanding of each one's relationship to God has a unifying and strengthening effect. When our desire is to serve God and bless those we're working with, we can find unity and mutual support. God maintains His children in gracious harmony.

n2 John 10:30.

This idea of glorifying God was very helpful at a particular church board meeting I attended once. Picture this. We were all sitting around our conference table. And each chair (there were seven of us) had casters on the legs. When we got to a certain issue, each one of us began to express his own opinion. At the same time each of us began slowly to roll his chair away from the table. At one point I looked around the room and we were spread far apart, completely away from the table.

Then someone began to express gratitude for what God had done for him. We all joined in and told how grateful we were, too. Soon we all gradually rolled back to the table until we were together again. As a result of our thanks to God, the issue was quickly solved, and happily, too.

While such an audible declaration may not be appropriate in most circumstances, working with others does require humility, and humility in its deepest sense includes a recognition that God governs man. Yielding to God's will, and doing what's best, we learn a lot. Have you ever gone to a meeting with your opinion absolutely fixed and come out of it with a totally different viewpoint? One that's often strengthened with insight, new information, and sheer inspiration?

When we express divine Love, glorifying our creator, we feel the unifying influence of God. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power.'' n3

n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 192.

As we seek God's will and put aside our fixed opinions, we'll feel the peace of God and its harmonizing influence. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5, 6riptures, p. 192.

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