God-centered plans

Congratulations were in order. Not only had I secured a summer job, but plans for graduate work in the field I loved were jelling nicely. Three months later, however, these finely crafted plans were rubble; my chosen career path hopelessly obstructed; my colorless employment, intended only to bridge the gap between semesters, now seemingly destined to be my lifework.

Yeats wrote, ''Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.'' n1 The only center my plans had revolved around was self. Never once had the ''I'' of material selfhood been subordinated to the divine will. Never once had I humbly asked, ''Father, what is Your plan for me?'' Amid the inevitable wreck of merely self-centered plans, I realized I now had the opportunity to retrace my steps and begin anew to discover my true function in God's kingdom.

n1 W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming," Later Poems (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1924), p. 346.

''Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.'' n2 This Scriptural precept reveals that man's true function is to express God, to manifest the divine nature. Christ Jesus revealed the fullness of the divine nature. Consistently identifying himself, his purpose, and his activity in relation to his heavenly Father, the Way-shower said, ''I must work the works of him that sent me.'' 3 Those works were the destruction of sin, disease, and death. The divine nature, or Christ, was manifest so completely in Jesus that those who opened their hearts to him felt the actual presence of God, divine Love, before which every affliction falls.

n2 Isa. 43.12.

n3 John 9:4.

Each of us has a God-appointed mission. The divine demand to witness to God, to work His works, and make known His Christ is universally and eternally binding, not confined to particular persons, time periods, or circumstances. Not one of us is a ''free agent.'' We can't truly pursue life and activity apart from God, because the divine Mind alone creates and governs man. And God moves His idea, man, in rightful channels.

Human desires, plans, and goals need to be uplifted and purified in order that our divine mission may come into focus. If we find their center and foundation in God, Spirit, our plans will be truly progressive and successful, and a blessing to all. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m ''Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.'' n4

n4 Science and Health, p. 1.

Perhaps the thought of a divine mission seems presumptuous. But, in fact, awakening to one's own God-appointed mission is fundamental to the discovery of one's true identity as a child of God, and forwards the Christianization of daily life. Not one of us is an ''extra'' whose activities or thoughts lack significance. Self-immolation, the casting off of a false, personal ''center'' of being and action, reveals the Christly man in each of us, the real man about his Father's business. Mrs. Eddy writes, ''Every human thought must turn instinctively to the divine Mind as its sole centre and intelligence.'' n5

n5 Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 307-308.

In a tender letter the writer of Timothy says that God hath ''called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.'' n6 The power that appoints man as His representative also annoints man with every Godlike quality.

n6 II Timothy 1:9.

My nondescript job became a valued laboratory in which to witness to the true spiritual identity of man as the image and likeness of God. New desires and plans unfolded, solidly centered on God - not on the vagaries of circumstance and human will. In time a new field, one I had never even considered, opened wide, offering abundant opportunities to benefit my community in practical ways.

As we trust God with our plans for the future (including today), He will elevate them and use us for His good purpose. And His grace will be evidenced in an abiding sense of joy and fulfillment. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up James 4:10

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