A Christian Science perspective: Lessons on selflessness.

When our children were young their preschool teacher used to say, “Don’t be a me first!” By this she meant not to push ahead and cut in line or race to get the best chairs or crayons. It was a way of teaching children not to be selfish. We adopted this saying at home, as well, to help our children understand care for others, selflessness, and other admirable Christian qualities. Then one day while thinking of the term “me first,” I realized what did need to come first. I needed to put God first.

In Christian Science, good is another name for God, so putting God first means to wholly desire God’s will for us, knowing that His will is always good. Putting God first also means to seek a higher, spiritual understanding of our relationship to God. It means to put our full trust in His care for us. In short, it means to turn to Him in times of need for our protection, guidance, and safety.

Keeping God first in our lives gives us the deepest satisfaction because God is Spirit, and everything that comes from Spirit is illimitable and eternal. It opens our thoughts and lives to a higher, more fulfilling purpose. It destroys selfishness and institutes true spiritual selflessness, which shows our inseparable relation to God. This clear spiritual understanding of our relationship to God in turn naturally enables us to achieve what we need to accomplish. Why? Because we discover that, as Spirit’s child, we express Him with our unlimited God-given talent. And with the growing understanding of this truth comes the growing evidence of it in our lives. In this way, by putting God first, our efforts of selflessness result in blessings for all, even ourselves. Prayerfully turning away from the limitations of matter to the infinite possibilities of Spirit illuminates our God-given capacities.

Christ Jesus showed us that we each have perfect unity with God as His child, His image, and that understanding this eternal relationship brings what we need, whether it be progress, success, or healing. He instructed his followers to put God first when he said “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

 Mary Baker Eddy, a devoted follower of Christ Jesus and the Discoverer of Christian Science, explains how we, too, can progress and emulate the works that Jesus demonstrated. In her textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes: “Every day makes its demands upon us for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power. These proofs consist solely in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death by the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil” (p. 233). These higher proofs of man’s relationship to God are the true, substantial way-marks of our spiritual achievements.

Following in Christ Jesus’ footsteps we find that our true relationship to God brings all we need. When we are free of egotism, selfishness, and self-gratification, then we truly are stepping back and letting God be our “Me” first.

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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.