WHEN I was a child, my father used to illustrate the value of obedience by telling us a story. He had grown up in the copper country of northern Michigan, where there were many active mines and also abandoned ones. One day when he was very young he and his father were walking in the hills, enjoying some lovely weather. As he was skipping along ahead of his father, his dad suddenly and quietly said ``Stop!'' My dad stopped. Right in front of him was an open mine shaft that he had not seen. If he had taken one more step, he would have fallen down the shaft. It wouldn't have done him any good to question why he should stop, or to take a few steps before he decided to stop. The immediate obedience to that command saved him from harm. Sometimes people challenge the need for unquestioning obedience to a particular law that seems unreasonable to them. And rightly so. But when the light of truth bares the reason for that law--when it is seen to be just and protective--obedience is no longer resisted; it's based on an appreciation for the thoughtful legislation that prepared the law. My father's willingness to obey immediately his dad's command stemmed from his understanding that his dad was lovingly watching over him in a way that was best for him.
It takes meekness and humility to be obedient to a divine demand, to give up self-will in situations in which we find ourselves at work, in our homes, in our churches. The Holy Bible is filled with insightful examples of the results of obedience to God. And it contains reassurances, such as Isaiah's promise ``If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.''1
Those who love the Bible turn frequently to God in order to see what step to take in a particular instance. He is the Lawgiver, and through humble turning to Him we are led to know and do what is in accord with His laws.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, was a deep student of the Bible. She writes, referring to the divine nature, ``Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes.''2 The demands that God as Life, Truth, and Love makes on man are all a result of His genuine care for and delight in His children. They're the result of absolute spiritual truth, of the wonderful, inescapable reality that our true being is now the image of God, as the Bible teaches. It's natural, then, that we increasingly express loyalty to the one God, that we express the purity of thought and the love that characterize our real selfhood and that were exemplified by Christ Jesus, the Way-shower.
Even in the garden of Gethsemane when his crucifixion was imminent, he prayed, ``O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.''3 Without that genuine willingness to be obedient to God's demands, he could not have proved, through the resurrection and ascension, the indestructible nature of life.
The results of Jesus' supreme example and of those who follow that example, answer for today the question ``Why obedience?'' Our salvation depends on it. The spiritual reality of life, with its inherent harmony, must be demonstrated. And how freeing, how deeply enriching, our lives become as we do so. We truly eat the good of the land.
1Isaiah 1:19. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 184. 3Matthew 26:39. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers. Deuteronomy 6:18