With your whole heart

A Christian Science perspective: In this age of multitasking, what needs our whole heart?

It could very well be that multitasking, taken by many to be an art form in our time, is overrated. Some long for a simpler approach. Others yearn to do one or two things well, rather than a list of things halfheartedly. This desire for wholeheartedness can seem, if undetected, like an ache. Something’s missing, but we aren’t sure what it is. We feel occupied, yet unengaged; full of things to do, but empty.

This malaise is apparently not unique to our highly busy, often distracted, society. It was seen in biblical times as well. Of one of the kings of Judah, it is written, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly” (II Chronicles 25:2, New International Version). Wholeheartedness, in contrast, is a quality that received admiration in biblical times. King David wrote in a psalm to God of his affection and desire, “I will praise thee with my whole heart” (Psalms 138:1). And, of course, of Christ Jesus, the one whose whole heart and life was singly devoted to God, it is noted, “He hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37).

To be devoted, to be wholehearted, is a means of understanding right here and now our oneness with God. This isn’t something we can track by assessing our bank accounts, our work performance, the numbers of friends and contacts we may have, or even our health. It is something we feel. It is perceived through spiritual sense, a kind of knowing. Spiritual sense, as described by Mary Baker Eddy in the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God” (p. 209). It is to understand that God is not just here and ever-presently so, but the very center of all, and is All. It is to accept our place as the offspring of God – as God’s being, expressed.

If we feel we aren’t there in our understanding and that we have either never known our inseparable unity with divine Love, or that the shine of it has been dulled by materialism in some way, we can find comfort in realizing that Love, God, is always drawing us near. Truth is unchanging, patient, and permanent. It makes itself known to us; is making itself known to us continuously. This promise is articulated well in the book of Jeremiah, particularly in this reassuring verse: “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart” (24:7).

Even if we believe we have been distanced from or unfamiliar with the loving God, we can see that the signs of God’s caring presence are constantly being offered to us. Every good idea has its origin in God. Once we are aware of this, we begin to see these signs, attribute them to God, and we then tend to see them multiply as we notice them.

Our thought begins to pivot Spiritward. We begin to understand Mrs. Eddy’s declaration in the “Church Manual” that “God requires our whole heart...” (pp. 44-45). This is not so much a demand on us, but is rather a rescue for us.

We have really been given “the great heart of Love” and it is expressed (see Science and Health, p. 448). It is the very Love that guides us, keeps us close, satisfies and protects us. With Love at the helm of our lives, we find that simplification takes place. Our tasks are streamlined, and some unnecessary items, perhaps distractions, may just remove themselves from our lists. Mrs. Eddy must have experienced this, as she mentions that “angels [will] administer grace, do thy errands, and be thy dearest allies. The divine law gives to man health and life everlasting – gives a soul to Soul, a present harmony wherein the good man’s heart takes hold on heaven, and whose feet can never be moved. These are His green pastures beside still waters, where faith mounts upward, expatiates, strengthens, and exults” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 129).

An intentional devotion to all that is good, all that is substantial and progressive, saves us from emptiness, dissatisfaction, and discord of every description. It is a haven to be wholehearted. 

From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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