Don't be afraid of the spotlight

HAVE you ever felt you'd much rather keep well out of sight than be the center of attention? Have you thought it would be egotistical to be the one in charge of making important decisions? There's no doubt about the virtue of meekness and humility as Christian values. Christ Jesus taught his disciples, ``Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.'' 1 Recognizing God as the source of all intelligence and power is a basic Bible precept. But meekness can find expression in ways that don't foster an attitude of personal insignificance and reticence. Our situation may demand a new application of meekness when we have to put aside personal inclinations and stand in the glare of the spotlight, center stage. We may be elected to a particular office that makes us more prominent. Our knowledge of a subject may propel us to become a leading authority in that area. Or through love for a righteous cause we can find ourselves one of its chief exponents. Moses was placed in just such a position. He was to bring the Israelites out of bondage. Moses might have preferred to remain a simple shepherd. His responses to God could sound like our own answers under certain circumstances. He said to God: ``Who am I . . . ?'' ``What shall I say . . . ?'' ``They will not believe me . . . .'' ``I am not eloquent . . . .'' 2 Apparently Moses felt God should have chosen someone else for the job. But through humility and love for God, he accepted his divinely ordained mission, fulfilling it with honor. It might have been much easier for him to remain a simple servant, but he rose to the occasion and became a great leader. There are times when we all have to do things differently if we want to be of service. Flexibility is a quality that enables us to adapt to the demands made upon us. When I was in college I was asked to represent an organization by speaking at a meeting of thousands. As the time approached for my presentation I was so anxious and self-conscious that I became afraid. What I had to do seemed too much of a responsibility for me. My fear developed into an uncomfortable rash. At the last minute, because time was short, my presentation was canceled. Immediately I felt relieved, and the rash quickly left. My physical improvement was a good lesson in the relationship of thought to experience. I knew I had to do some serious thinking before I performed a task like that in the future. Through the study of Christian Science I began to realize that God is the source of all intelligence. As God's child, man doesn't originate intelligence but reflects it. Wisdom and understanding belong to God. So do power and glory. Also, I began to see the importance of the message and how the power of that message supports the speaker. I was learning a valuable lesson. The Christ, the universal divine influence so fully expressed in the life of Jesus, is always present to inspire and bless. About twenty-five years later I was asked to speak in the same auditorium to thousands. There were spotlights, television cameras for closed-circuit broadcast, and overflow audiences. But I felt completely relaxed and at peace, realizing the importance of the message I was asked to deliver. A new view of meekness had been learned. I had to be just as willing to perform the important task as to remain in the background. I had to put personal concerns completely aside. What's the point? When we love God enough to put aside self-consciousness, we will feel that true meekness and humility which enable us to be the one to take the initiative, to be the head of a group, or to express our understanding with conviction. Meekness will also enable us to let someone else receive the honor. In either case, we must be willing to be a general, if necessary, because what we believe in demands it. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``How many are there ready to suffer for a righteous cause, to stand a long siege, take the front rank, face the foe, and be in the battle every day?'' 3 Through love and humility--through a recognition of God as the sole source of all that we are and of all the ability we have --we'll be willing to wear the sandals of humility and, if need be, take the staff of authority as well. 1 Matthew 5:5. 2 Exodus 3:11, 13; 4:1, 10. 3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 99.

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