Retirement and eternal life
Long before a man actually set foot on the moon, many in the scientific community knew that such an event was not only possible but inevitable. It took time to work up to the goal. But eventually it was achieved, and we all thrilled as we watched that first dramatic step out onto the lunar surface.
In a similar pattern, there are sincere Christians, even now, absolutely convinced that eternal life is not only possible but inevitable for everyone. They believe that it will take time and much patient practice and spiritual accomplishment, individually and collectively, for humanity to demonstrate this great Scriptural promise, but that it will be achieved.
Is retirement a step toward demonstrating eternal life? It can be if we make wise use of our time - if, for example, we strive more deeply to understand and practice the teachings of Christ Jesus.
Jesus himself gave the recipe for eternal life. He said, ''This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.'' n1
n1 John 17:3.
The Master's works rested on a radically different premise from that of the physical sciences. He confronted the concepts of matter, time, and space, and proved them to be false, illusory. He challenged the phenomena of evil as deceptions, contrary to divine Love's law of the universe. He proved life and substance to be spiritual, not material.
God, Spirit itself, is the only true creator of all reality. Material limitations cannot describe the unlimited dimensions of Spirit's ideas and expressions. The real universe is the manifestation of eternal Spirit, of the one divine Mind. The real man, our actual selfhood, is Mind's very expression. By definition, matter cannot be eternal. But Mind and man are.
Every day, Christian Science healings of disease, immorality, and so on, take place all over the world. Each one of them is a proof of divine Principle - proof that Spirit constitutes and controls the life and health of man through the action of intelligent, universal Love. To understand this Principle, to follow Jesus' example in overcoming material limitations, is the open gate to life eternal.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''When it is learned that disease cannot destroy life, and that mortals are not saved from sin or sickness by death, this understanding will quicken into newness of life. It will master either a desire to die or a dread of the grave, and thus destroy the great fear that besets mortal existence.'' n2 And, ''Thousands of instances could be cited of health restored by changing the patient's thoughts regarding death.'' n3
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 426
n3 Ibid., p. 79.
To become convinced of the inevitability of eternal life is a catalyst to the healing of sin and sickness. And to systematically heal, through spiritual understanding, both sickness and sin is a catalyst to the demonstration of eternal life.
At no time do we need to retire from this cycle of spiritual progress. We provide for our later years with investments, annuities, retirement homes, and so forth. But these provisions need not - and in truth cannot - mark our retirement fromactive life.m Rather, we can view them as freeing us from the pressing cares of the world while we work most actively to retire frommortality,m from materialism and sensualism. We can consistently confront mortality at a time when mortality strongly presses its challenges upon us.
St. Paul speaks of the Christian requirement ''that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man , which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.'' n4
n4 Ephesians 4:22-24.
''Put off'' the old, false definition of man as material and mortal. This ''old man'' is the only one that ever really retires.
Daily victories over mortality, progressive purification of thought and life, make ultimate universal salvation from death a certainty. Again, St. Paul says, ''When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.'' n5
n5 I Corinthians 15:54
DAILY BIBLE VERSE In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death. Proverbs 12:28