Self-Serving Or God-Serving?
INDIVIDUALS who enlist to help mankind generally do so for unselfish motives. Their concern about issues that are basic to mankind's welfare impels them to devote themselves to efforts to bring greater security and larger opportunities for self-expression to every individual.
In the Bible we find inspiring accounts of individuals who responded to an inner conviction that human experience becomes truly purposeful when it is lived in obedience to God. Abram, later called Abraham, became, Genesis tells us, the founder of "a great nation because he was willing to leave his settled life at God's command. Moses' career was committed to freeing the children of Israel from paganism by instilling obedience to God in their thoughts and actions.
But it is, of course, Christ Jesus who was mankind's greatest benefactor. He said of himself, Luke's Gospel records: "I am among you as he that serveth. By example, Jesus shows us how the spiritual understanding of God as Life--as all true being--gives impetus to our unselfish efforts and equips us with boundless spiritual resources to benefit both ourselves and others. Because Jesus acted in obedience to God, he was able to heal sickness as well as sin, to supply crowds with food, and to challenge injus tice. Jesus could do these things for humanity because he understood that God, Spirit, and not matter, is the source of true substance. Jesus expected his followers to take to heart his command to heal, comfort, and uplift mankind by enlisting to serve others.
I know a man, recently retired from a successful business career, who enlisted for such a purpose. Hearing a newscast about cruel oppression in another country motivated him to begin an enterprise that has made his life brimful of usefulness to others. Though this new course is often severely challenging, he always feels the strength and strong assurance that accompany genuine, selfless efforts to serve others. And he is learning that an ideal is fruitful when it is founded on God, Spirit, who is the sou rce and provider of unlimited blessings for all mankind.
When God-serving is more important to us than self-serving, we'll also find ways to help humanity. Some express their compassion by enlisting in neighborhood efforts to educate and brighten individual lives. Others volunteer to befriend youth who live in ghettos or in underdeveloped countries. Like my friend, they discover that prayer and a willingness to obey and serve God reveal a whole new world that surpasses anything passive living offers. One begins to understand what it means to be God's child--Hi s spiritual reflection, the exact expression of His marvelous nature. Then serving mankind becomes a God-centered activity, drawing on the spiritual resources of insight, initiative, strength, guidance.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, devoted her life to helping people discover their spiritual relationship to God and learn how to express His nature by healing themselves and others. In her writings, she shows us man's divine sonship, which entitles each individual--each of us--to every Godlike quality we may need to serve others. She writes in her Miscellaneous Writings: "All power and happiness are spiritual, and proceed from goodness. Sacrifice self to bless one anothe r, even as God has blessed you. When we truly want to honor God and express His goodness in today's troubled world, we will be glad to "sacrifice self through devoting ourselves to activities that reveal His universal love for humanity.