MANY years ago, while I was working for a major university, I identified so totally with the organization's policies and ideals that I planned to work there my whole life. A friend, also a Christian Scientist, didn't feel this attitude was wise. She said, essentially, that I needed to find a surer source of stability and supply by placing my trust and my future in the hands of God, divine Love, not my employer.
Cultivating a closer relationship with divine Love keeps us secure no matter what kind of ups and downs we face at work. Christ Jesus, a healer and teacher of such significance that Christians call him Master, taught that we can literally depend on God to help us at all times and in all cases. While an employer may or may not appreciate us, God always loves us, His sons and daughters. In the book of Galatians in the Bible, we are told: ''God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ'' (4:6, 7).
We are heirs of God when we understand that we are spiritual and that our relation to God is permanent. We are never redundant to divine Love, whose resources are infinite. We have a direct heritage that includes only good. This knowledge has practical effects.
For example, even large companies, where employment once seemed very secure, have made cutbacks in staff. Those who are affected by such changes can retain a sense of stability by recognizing that, in reality, each of us is a spiritual idea of God, divine Mind. Our real purpose is to express His qualities, such as intelligence, patience, love, purity, peace, and kindness. We can do this no matter what job we have. In fact, we can do it even if we have no job.
This prayerful approach can lead us to new employment if we are willing to develop our spiritual skills and purify ourselves of negative traits that are not so employable. These would include thoughts that are not Godlike--such as resentment, jealousy, vengefulness, and bitterness. If you find such elements, your ''employment'' is to eliminate them by understanding that they are no part of God's creation--and therefore, no part of you because you are in fact created by divine Love.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes the value of this cleansing in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says: ''Absorbed in material selfhood we discern and reflect but faintly the substance of Life or Mind. The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man's spiritual and eternal individuality, and destroys the erroneous knowledge gained from matter or through what are termed the material senses'' (p. 91).
As we succeed in giving up erroneous traits and more fully developing our ability to express spiritual qualities (which are always good), we are naturally led to productive activities. Perhaps at first the work we find will be temporary. But all of these activities can be opportunities to put what we have learned into practice.
We may need to dig deeper in order to bring about genuine change in thought or to discover a new outlook on work and on contacts with others. But as we do this we can take time to be grateful for the work we're doing and for whatever good we have seen about it and about ourselves. This does much to lead us to new work, whether with our old employer or a new one. Yet, most important of all is to understand clearly that the good we receive has its source in God, rather than in our company, however enlightened the company may be.
I learned this not long after my friend had warned me about the need to spir-itualize my thought. Changes in the university led to significant difficulties. These forced me to grow closer to God, and as I did this, I was offered a much more satisfying job elsewhere.
The world's employment scene is changing, and each of us will need to change with it. But no matter who our employer is, we can find a stable center in our lives by trusting in God's love, which is unbroken and eternal.