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Out of work?

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

September 30, 2008



Because OF climbing prices and the present state of the economy, being out of work may mean facing difficult times. As well as needing to pay the bills, most people want to feel useful – to know that they're contributing in life and growing in their talents.

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While applying for jobs and talking to friends can be useful, there's another approach to finding employment that can actually be more meaningful and have more of a long-term impact. It involves asking God to reveal a deeper concept of what constitutes your real work. One place to start is by praying to know more about your identity as God's child, endowed with a present purpose and usefulness that come from Him.

Turning to God to understand the qualities He has given and is giving each of us opens our thought to our capacities for good. We begin to perceive that right now we have those abilities, and we can use them to glorify and exalt God as the only power, presence, and action.

For example, there are always opportunities to use God-given capacities by listening more attentively to our children, being more consistent in finishing a project, or even being more patient while driving. Even if it isn't clear where the next paycheck will come from, employing thought with love for our family, friends, neighbors – and our future employer, even if we don't necessarily know who that will be – begins to clarify our present freedom from limitation and lack of any sort.

Luke's Gospel records a time when Jesus was traveling with his parents to Jerusalem (see 2:42-52). After returning home, his parents became anxious because Jesus, only 12 years old, was nowhere in sight. They traveled back to Jerusalem only to find out that he was in the temple talking with many teachers. Like most parents, they wanted to know what was going on. Jesus told them that he was "about my Father's business."

Although Jesus went with them, and, as the Bible says, he was "subject to them," it was clear that Jesus knew what his work was from a very early age. Jesus saw God, his Father, as the source of his purpose, supply, ability, and progress – the essence of his being. He lived in conformity to God's direction in order to show humanity that the kingdom of heaven – all good, harmony, and abundance – is always with us. And the divine nature or Christ, the image and likeness of God, is forever at work in our lives just as it was in his life.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, illuminated this idea of the Christ activity. She said, "This idea or divine essence was, and is, forever about the Father's business; heralding the Principle of health, holiness, and immortality" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 163). A herald was an officer who gave messages from the commander, the one in supreme authority. If we're going through a job transition, we can pray for the Christ-herald to be at work in our thought, bearing the good messages of God, the one supreme authority, instead of listening to messages of doubt or fear.

A young woman with a degree in art decided to explore a career in graphic design. Moving across the country, she began to find freelance work. Then it suddenly came to a halt. There were bills to pay, and her funds were nearly depleted. Since she'd relied on prayer to God whenever she needed help in the past, she turned to prayer again. This time she affirmed with conviction that the ideas and creativity she expressed in art came from God and so were under God's direction. Her prayer was, "Father-Mother God, if doing art is the best way for me to give, show me where to do it."

Shortly after that, a good friend, knowing that she needed work, told her about some open positions in the field of caregiving. She saw no connection to art but felt impelled to follow up. What started out as work in a kitchen, which enabled her to meet her daily needs, led to a career as a professional in the field of caregiving. Today it's obvious to her that being compassionate and nurturing – caring for others – is truly an art.

We can't help being what God made us to be – fulfilling the divine purpose He has for us. This work always needs us, specifically. It is always available, can't be phased out, nor is it at risk. It will always open up new possibilities. And you can start doing it right now.

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