HE pavement in front of our house was torn up while crews replaced water mains. At each end of the street bright orange signs proclaimed, ``Men Working.'' Traffic threaded between orange lane marker cones.
One afternoon when I cautiously backed my car out of the drive, the workmen quickly cleared a path for me. They smiled and waved. As I thought about how pleasant they were, I realized they also carefully watched over neighborhood children on the way to and from school. Talking with my friend next door that Saturday, we both noted their alertness and courtesy.
This reminded me of the prayer and study I had been doing over the past few months on the subject of work. I wanted to know what was the right concept of work, and what specifically should be my work? What I was learning about work through my prayer was enlightening. John's Gospel in the Bible, for example, tells us Christ Jesus said: ``My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.'' Jesus always directed our thought to the Father, God. And he explained that we need to understand God better if we wish to work more effectively. He went on to say of his own work: ``The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.''
Man is spiritual, created in the image and likeness of God, male and female. Skill and power, then, must be available to every individual as God's expression. Reasoning from this spiritual basis, we can see God's qualities expressed all around us. We reflect them ourselves. The competence and kindness of the workmen on our street was ready evidence of this, and I thanked God for showing it to me.
These observations alerted me to realize that I should resolutely claim Godlike qualities as my own. No child of God lacks the wisdom or ability to be active and useful. Any argument to the contrary stems from ignorance of God. His plan includes everyone's true nature and proper function.
Jesus explained his own mission clearly when he said: ``I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.'' Who could aspire to a better career than that of doing God's will? This thought prompted me to spend less time thinking about what special aptitudes I might possess and to pay more attention to recognizing opportunities to serve God.
Soon I found that several of my activities offered satisfying and ample means of doing God's will. I was discovering that the focus of honest efforts, and the expression of the spiritual qualities of wisdom, energy, and courage, provided me with abundant reward. My viewpoint expanded beyond habitual restrictions. I was gaining forward momentum as I got my thinking out of the rut of believing I didn't have anything to offer.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, says in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way.'' It really happens.
Long ago, doing certain jobs would cause me to have frequent headaches and to become very fatigued. I learned, however, that God never sends us burdens or penalties. And Christian Science showed me that God's law of harmonious activity eliminates tension. I'm grateful to be able to do these same tasks now without suffering either headaches or fatigue.
One morning I hailed one of the workmen on our street and asked him to thank the crew for me and my neighbors. He gave me a big smile and agreed to share the message, which he called ``a day brightener.'' Daily and hourly we see people doing their tasks with grace and efficiency, at the store, the gas station, the office, everywhere. Good work!