Is happiness at work a luxury these days? Many people feel that their goals, aspirations, and ideals diverge greatly from what is expected of them in their work. Whether one has doubts about his own worth or the worth of his work, Christian Science has a reassuring message: Happiness and job satisfaction come from understanding who we truly are, not from the job we do.
Our real being is defined by our spiritual, enduring relationship to the Father-Mother, God. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Man is the expression of God's being.''n1
n1 Science and Health, p. 470.
All the qualities our actual nature comprises - purity, love, joy, wisdom, and so forth - are spiritual and come from God. In as much as we live these qualities, patterning our thoughts and actions after moral and spiritual values, we appreciate our God-derived worth.
Our value as God's offspring is beyond question; it is beyond comparison or measure. We can take an understanding of this spiritual worth to work every day, but we can't go to work without it and expect to find it there.
I began to see this in my hobby of woodworking. I once believed that every piece I turned out proved, once again, that I had worth, that I could do something of value. After all, here was a three-dimensional object, both beautiful and useful--surely this was solid evidence of my own worth. But I found that I often became cranky when the work didn't go quite right, or that I felt in a rush to finish one piece and begin the next. At times I felt burdened instead of joyful.
Then I learned this spiritual fact in Christian Science: Worth was something I had because of my relationship to God. Nothing I could ever do or not do with tools and hands could change that. I learned that woodworking was really an expression of the value I already had as God's reflection. A light turned on when I perceived this truth, and I have gone about woodworking in quite a different way since then.
Such understanding can reverse our view of ourselves and our work. We no longer see ourselves as mortals, cut off from God, with THE JOB as a monster in control of our lives. Instead, we become masters of our work by understanding the strength and permanence of our relationship to God. We discover that the perfect provision the Father has for each of us blesses our work associates too, and the peace we feel from knowing about His care can rub off at work.
If we feel unprepared for a job, we can utilize the intelligence and vision of divine wisdom to take productive steps. Then we will more than cope--we will triumph. Through God's love we can find the right way to move into other work if that's the appropriate solution for us. But in every case we need to learn more of our relationship to God and allow that understanding to do the healing work necessary on the job.
Perhaps it's a bit like Christ Jesus' disciples when they returned to fishing after he had taught them to be ''fishers of men.'' They caught no fish--you can bet they felt little job satisfaction. From the shore Jesus called out, ''Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.''n2 Following Jesus' command, they promptly caught more fish than they could handle--and then returned to the satisfying work of teaching and healing that Jesus had so carefully taught them.
Mrs. Eddy notes, ''Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.''n3
n2 John 21:6.
n3 Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17.
When we begin recognizing our spiritual worth each day--giving to the work, rather than using a job to get what we want--the strength and presence of our relationship to God begins governing our work experience. Relationships can change; we can see our duties in a new light; new possibilities can emerge. Our job--the one we have right now--can become a true joy. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart Psalms 40:8