Employment statistics don't tell all

A Christian Science perspective.

Current employment statistics can produce conflicting reports. One thing is sure – to be usefully employed is a basic part of our essential being, not simply a means of sustenance.

From the initial presentation of God's creation in the Bible, the first chapter of Genesis describes the man and woman of His making as "fruitful" and commanded to "multiply." I've taken that to mean that it's God's intention for His creation to be productive and to prosper. This is the norm the world wide, for humanity to be industrious, useful, creative, and progressive.

Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who established the Monitor, wrote: "All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 514). Throughout her book she used marginal headings, which extract important points being made in the text. The marginal heading of that paragraph is "Creatures of God useful." This includes each one of us.

When considering our God-given utility and prosperity, in contrast to unemployment and want, it's hard to overlook the biblical example Joseph's life presents. Just as the beginning of Genesis states the fact of our utility, near the conclusion of the book of Genesis, there is a practical illustration of that spiritual fact. Joseph's closeness to God appears to be linked to his prosperity: "And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man" (Gen. 39:2).

This doesn't mean that if we are facing difficult times or job loss, we are not close to God. Our nearness to God is a forever fact. Joseph's account, though, can be encouraging when we see his steady faith and spiritual resilience as he faced daunting inequity and injustice.

Joseph's life was as colorful as the coat of many colors that was famously stolen from him by his brothers. Through rejection, captivity, scandal, unjust imprisonment, even being forgotten by some who might have helped him, he stayed close to God. No matter what his circumstances, he continued to be useful and purposeful. In fact, before he was freed from prison, he made himself an invaluable asset, and later was made second in command to Pharaoh, during a reign with extreme challenges for the people of Egypt and surrounding lands.

Joseph's refusal to be daunted, and his evident ability to retain trust in God, in good, as the source and sole support of life, provide a model worth holding to for whatever we face. God will not forsake us. He employs us without interruption to express divine Life, which teems with good, creative ideas and endless opportunities. We cannot be cut off, laid off, or dismissed from good any more than a ray of light can be separated from its source.

If you or someone you know is dealing with job loss and fear of lack, drawing near to God can ease that fear and indicate how God shows us the way out of this unnatural condition. Each one of us is necessary and required to express the fullness and magnificence of God's constant activity.

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