LIFE is often burdened by too much of some things and too little of others. But it's not one's age that's the culprit, even though we're often tempted to use that as a handy peg on which to hang the whole thorny question ``What am I worth, to myself or anyone else?'' Worth. That, fundamentally, is thealways-overhanging issue in our lives. When I was in school, there was a biology teacher who, trying to enliven the class, would occasionally march out some statistics about how much the human body would be worth if its aggregate of minerals were weighed and then assigned the current market value. The figure, if I remember correctly, came out to less than a couple of dollars. We all knew that statistic was a joke -- a person is more than the body; and friendship, affection, and life are worth a lot more than that! But friendships can fade; affection can look like a pitiful casualty across the battlefield of infidelity and disappointment; and life may not appear to be worth much when feebleness threatens to overshadow the future. In the Bible, Job must have felt the weight of his losses multiplied. Jacob, long separated from his home, must have wrestled with doubt and self-recrimination for some time before his reckoning with God at Peniel. And there was the anguish of the ages crying out when Christ Jesus prayed at Gethsemane and suffered at Calvary.1
Such is the pathos of the human condition, but it's not the end of the story. Job was restored; Jacob was reconciled with his brother Esau, as well as with God; and Jesus showed that Christ, his eternal selfhood, would lift him above the fury of mortal existence into newness of life and oneness with divine Love.
Is it too much to hope that our lives will have the same powerful transformation? It will only appear to be too much if we believe that we must wait for the transformation to take place in some fabled ``tomorrow.''
Perhaps the key to this whole issue of individual worth is what we hold as the purpose of our lives. It's the purpose that we cherish which points our lives toward disappointment or primes them for renewal and ultimate victory. The movement toward victory begins with what we have a taste for, what we work for and draw into our lives. If it's the search for ultimate spiritual truth, then the law of God is taking hold of our days and is transforming them. That spiritual purpose and the Christly action behind it come from God and begin to change the nature of our thought and experience until it's no longer a material mass that seems governed by the cold void of material precedent and happenstance.
So, what do we do now, faced with the routine and requirements of another twenty-four hours of...whatever it is? We start with what we value, what we cherish, what we desire. That's what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was talking about in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures when she spoke of the promise of gaining right views of humanity: ``Take away wealth, fame, and social organizations, which weigh not one jot in the balance of God, and we get clearer views of Principle. Break up cliques, level wealth with honesty, let worth be judged according to wisdom, and we get better views of humanity.''2
What a preliminary to spiritual self-discovery! It takes razing of the materiality and material faith that we've long become accustomed to holding dear in order to raise up in consciousness man -- the image and likeness of God -- who has eternal life. Spiritual self-examination will follow. It will lighten the dark corners of material beliefs that have too long imprisoned us in the limitations and disappointments of thinking that all the issues of life are held in the grasp of matter.
Renewed spiritual hope and regeneration were awakened in primitive Christianity. Crippled bodies and enslaved minds were shown not to be the irreversible or inevitable condition of men and women. Regardless of our own circumstances, we today have the same timeless opportunity to take hold of the spiritual-mindedness and spiritual affection that give new hope and energy. There are tangible ways in which that purpose will begin to move us -- more love here, less fear in another area, new courage and strength in yet another area of our lives. There's much to look forward to, and there's plenty of a spiritual nature to start doing today. As this happens, our lives truly will be in the hand of God.
1See Matthew 27:46. 2Science and Health, p. 239.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the April 6 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2