A parable. A man was assigned to peel a pile of potatoes. He didn't want to do it. He preferred that someone else do it. The longer he procrastinated, the longer the potatoes sat there. Finally, since no one else was going to do it, he reluctantly began peeling them, resenting every moment of it. What's more, the pile of potatoes looked bigger to him with each potato he peeled. And the resentment grew as well. He was unhappy and learned nothing from his task.
Another man was assigned to peel a pile of potatoes. He decided the only way the job was going to get done - and done rightly - was if it was done ungrudgingly. He knew the potatoes would feed a lot of people, and that pleased him. So he began peeling them one by one. While peeling, he made good use of his time thinking unselfishly about the world. He was increasingly grateful, too, to have a potato peeler. With each peeled potato the pile looked smaller. No wonder. It was smaller. Before he was through, he became fairly skilled at peeling potatoes, and everyone was impressed with his happy outlook. When finished, he had a feeling of accomplishment and had gained a little more patience and humility.
Sometimes we let problems and responsibilities accumulate until they look like a pile of unpeeled potatoes, don't we? It's almost proverbial to say that tomorrow's successes are built on today's labors. Then, how can we come to grips with that habit of procrastinating? Certainly it's important that we do. A wise man said, ''Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.'' n1
n1 Proverbs 27: 1
Doesn't the reason for putting things off go deeper than the lame excuses we so often give - no time, too big a job, too small - to the underlying spirit with which we approach most things in life? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''The objects we pursue and the spirit we manifest reveal our standpoint, and show what we are winning.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, p.239.
Christian Science teaches us to improve that spirit (and those winnings) by understanding more of our true selfhood as the expression of the one infinite Spirit, God. That understanding carries with it tremendous potential for doing a job quickly and well - supplying strength, precision, endurance, efficiency, selfless motivation. Our true being includes, by reflection of Spirit's sheer magnitude, unlimited spiritual resources, and we can utilize these in every direction of good, not just tomorrow but today.
Acquainting ourselves with these divine resources impels us to put off limitation and self-justification rather than put off what needs doing; to increase our productivity and at the same time maintain a cheerful willingness to serve others; to develop valuable qualities, capacities, and skills while doing even menial tasks.
Mrs. Eddy says elsewhere: ''Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else. God's being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss. 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.' Like the archpriests of yore, man is free 'to enter into the holiest,' - the realm of God.''n3
n3 Ibid., p. 481
Always conscious of this realm - this kingdom of Spirit within - Christ Jesus was empowered with the divine energies needed to fulfill his extraordinary mission to mankind. He was enabled to resist the aggressive suggestions that tempt one to minimize the scope and impact of worthy pursuits. Through prayer and Christlike living, his followers can enter this realm too, where, breaking through the confines of mortal, materialistic thinking - confines that have no God-given authority to bind man's potential - they experience a much wider radius of thought and action. They find themselves getting things done from an overriding desire to be contributing members of society.
Excuses for idleness stop coming, because worthwhile tasks cease to look formidable or objectionable. They begin to fit into, rather than outside, one's life purpose, becoming opportunities for expressing more of divine good. Thus the load of troubles and obligations feels lighter. And that's a sign of accomplishment.
Got a pile of potatoes to peel? Then, why not get to it? Those potatoes could feed a lot of people. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phillippians 4:13