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Work to live or live to work?

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

January 6, 2009



A young woman had just lost her job and was living at home with her parents. She was, by all accounts, pretty miserable. Having to start over again, dust off the résumé, redefine herself, refine old skills or learn new ones seemed overwhelming. She felt frustrated, hopeless, and pretty crummy about life. That's when she acted on a friend's suggestion and called a Christian Science practitioner for spiritual guidance.

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Christian Science takes a radically different approach to challenges. Instead of seeing this woman from a material standpoint – as an unemployed person who needed God's help – the practitioner reasoned about the situation from God's standpoint. She understood God to be the cause of all being, all action, all life. Spirit is unlimited, all-embracing Love that provides and cares for all creation. Love comforts, inspires, nurtures, directs, and reveals God's good plan. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, – that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle" (p. 275).

Man, God's creation – including male and female – is the outcome of God. So God's creation isn't a limited, stressed, rejected, unemployed mortal. The male and female of God's creating is spiritual and is the unlabored reflection of Love. Just as the sunbeam's expression of light is a natural outcome of the sun, we are each the natural expression of Love and Love's work. So here's what the practitioner told the young woman: "Man's job is to bless others." She said, "Now, you think about that, and I'll pray for you."

If our job is to bless others, we're never unemployed. Right now each of us, as God's idea, is fully equipped to do that work. There can be no layoffs, no shutdowns, no exclusion from our true job. Our work isn't dependent on global economics, politics, or government decisions. We are eternally employed and in God's care. The laws of Spirit, of Love, govern us. Spirit's economy is healthy, robust, and includes no variableness or cycles.

Even at a very early age, Jesus explained his career by saying, "I must be about my Father's business" (Luke 2:49). He had no choice. It was his nature to reflect Love's business. Surely that business was the business of blessing others – teaching others about the all-power and presence of God, and proving these teachings through healing all kinds of illnesses.

His work is our work, too. An accountant blesses others by knowing tax laws. A teacher blesses students by imparting information in a way they can understand. A real estate agent blesses others by helping them find a home that is the perfect fit. Each of us, no matter what our job is – or even if we have no job – is designed to bless others.

That idea of blessing others kept ringing in the woman's ears. At first she battled with this concept. But after a couple of weeks, she decided to yield to the fact that her employment was not about vacation time and job title but about blessing. One afternoon, she put aside the self-pity and resentment she'd been indulging and arrested the paralyzing fear that had kept her in a state of inertia. She thought of a way she could bless her family and spent several hours doing just that. She consented to the spiritual fact that blessing others really was her job and reasoned from this that she would always be richly employed.

That night a friend of a friend called and told her about a job perfectly suited for her. It wasn't long before she was hired. Coincidence? It didn't seem like it to her. The spiritual revamping of her motive and purpose regarding her employment resulted in an immediate change in her experience.

Our job is to bless others. This fact holds reassurance, promise, and purpose for us all.

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