Public Service

CONSIDERING the storms of criticism that are showered on our leaders at all levels of government, it would seem that there are serious pressures that would make a willingness to serve the public undesirable. This shouldn't be so!

Laws understandably respond to irresponsibility on the part of public servants with appropriate punishment. Yet sometimes it seems that these efforts to fight corruption hinder the effectiveness of honest public servants more than they deter the wrongdoers. Such injustice can be corrected, however, as we begin to understand that true justice--that is to say, spiritual justice--is not merely a suppressor and punisher of wrong attitudes and behavior. God's justice undergirds and supplies strength to right intentions. In fact the Bible assures us that such a desire to serve humanity stems directly from God. Paul assures us in his letter to the Philippians, ``It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

Doesn't it make sense to reason that because God is a loving parent, then His design for His obedient offspring would be to encourage and enable them to be willing workers? Well we are those offspring of His! Man's true identity--our genuine selfhood--is as the child of God who listens for His voice, hears it, and obeys it. Through our prayers we can discern and demonstrate this spiritual sonship in practical ways. And we will increasingly be able to prove that finding fuller and freer expressions of ser vice to humanity in our daily lives is the inevitable outcome of a sincere desire within us to know and worship God.

It would be patently unjust for such willingness to be hedged about with the fear that our best efforts would fall short or face unjust condemnation. Such fears are an attack on the very idea of service; an idea enshrined in Christ Jesus' example. Although in the Master's case his healing and teaching never fell short, his disciples didn't always fare so well. We can learn from their experience. The Bible tells of the failure of Jesus' disciples to heal a man's son of the disease that we now call epileps y. But Mark's Gospel tells us that when the Master arrived he proved the power of Christ by healing the boy.

The Master's response to his disciples' evident failure wasn't a punishment that would deter them from ever putting themselves in the position of assuming responsibility again. Quite the reverse! He not only healed the child, but he provided an explanation of the disciples' need for ``prayer and fasting" that was surely intended to encourage them to dig deeper and find a greater trust in God's healing power. He steered them in the direction of increased spirituality by which they might be more readily eq uipped for future healing. This encouragement by Jesus of his disciples indicates the way in which divine Spirit, God, guides us as we turn to Him in prayer. And it is God's power that enables us to live up to the high standard of service required of us.

Indeed, to give our best service to mankind in any area of public service we must first put ourselves in God's service. This was certainly the case for the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, who speaks from experience when she writes in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901: ``Beloved brethren, to-day I extend my heart-and-hand-fellowship to the faithful, to those whose hearts have been beating through the mental avenues of mankind for God and humanity; and rest assured you

can never lack God's outstretched arm so long as you are in His service."

The outstretched arm of God is a divine law of protection to all right endeavors. As He leads each of us in our service to humankind, God's promise is of full support every step of the way!

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