Where success comes from

A Christian Science perspective.

The news of businesses, cities – even countries – on the verge of bankruptcy, accompanied by interviews with desperate people who have lost hope, can be disheartening. Expecting failure and poverty and dwelling in a mental miasma of demoralized self-confidence is also disheartening and furthers more of the same. The good news is that there is a remedy.

The model that defies fate and can lead us to successful outcomes is not merely an act of “visioning” or hypnosis-inducing mantras; the perfect model is spiritual, embodied in the words and works of Christ Jesus for all who would, to follow.

With full confidence in God, whom Jesus described as “our Father,” the master teacher plunged deep into spiritual reality to produce inarguable results: Jesus fed thousands and had 12 baskets of leftovers from only two fish and five loaves of bread (see Mark 6:34-44). He healed all types of disease and overcame death for others as well as presenting his own resurrection and ascension. Jesus explained, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Jesus’ ideal or mental model was his sonship with Spirit, the manifestation of God, who is Life, Truth, and Love. This embodiment of Christ, Truth, was foundational to Jesus’ success. The discoverer of the Science underlying Jesus’ results, Mary Baker Eddy, explained: “In divine Science, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, – thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying. The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, – perfect God and perfect man, – as the basis of thought and demonstration” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 259).

The foundation of prosperity is explained in Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders: “[E]veryone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27, New International Version).

This approach proved practical when I was a new sales manager, assigned to a team whose past performances had failed and forecasts were dismal. As I turned to God daily through prayer to focus thought on the model of excellence – spiritual perfection – and the expectation of unlimited good for our customers, success prevailed.

We completely rewrote our business plan to match the company’s foundation of focus on excellence and honest customer service. Less than six months later, after implementing the plan, the team was ranked among the top in sales, employee morale, and customer satisfaction. The desire to do right, to do well, was a right desire, which originated from God, and when carried out unselfishly, good results followed.

We can reject the limiting notion that success can be had only by a few or that it is too late – that it can’t be achieved because of age, economy, past mistakes, race, religion, political decisions, or environment. It’s imperative to reject suggestions that it is wrong to succeed or that business success is necessarily synonymous with greed or dishonesty.

God, good, is infinite, impartial, and universal. Like the Apostle Paul, we can be sure, “God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.