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Have you been replaced?

IF you have recently experienced a career change, retirement, or completion of a term of office, someone may already have taken your place. A welcome relief? For some, perhaps. But others might feel differently. Maybe they gave much to their former position in the way of devotion to duty, integrity, wise decisionmaking, unselfed love for others, yet feel they were taken for granted, their contributions not appreciated. The materialistic states of thought that would diminish our sense of worth, that would say we are a loser or a has- been, need to be silenced. And we can silence them by realizing that they have no authority from God. The Father sees His children as expressing His own perfection, and this is the true nature of us all, regardless of how hidden it may seem. The Father governs His creation through divine law. So we can't truly be deprived of good. The Bible says, recording the words of Boaz to Ruth, ``The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.'' 1 It's important to consider the deeper dimensions of right doing. For example, isn't the spiritual growth gained from serving from our highest standpoint a reward in itself? This is something we can treasure forever. Moreover, such progress is essential to the working out of our salvation. We need to realize that the spiritual qualities and the talents and abilities we expressed while in a particular situation, were God-given. We did not originate them but were, and are, endowed with them. And no one can ever express them in exactly the same way. It's encouraging to know that these qualities are continuously unfolding in our lives, and we will have them wherever we are and whatever we are doing. Perhaps we are now in the process of looking for a new and better experience. But we can't see a better experience for ourselves if we're not achieving a better consciousness. Anxious concern for finding our right place and fear of the future must yield to the certainty of God's government. By starting from the premise that God is all-knowing Mind, we can leave the false basis of limited, human reasoning and trust Him to reveal His will in our lives. We can pray to let go of preconceived plans and be receptive to God's infinitely wise direction. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.'' 2 The purpose of prayer in Christian Science is not so much to bring something about or to try to make something happen as it is to awake to what our heavenly Father has already provided for us. The spiritual fact is that God is the only creator, and what He has created is good and unlimited. We will see greater evidence of this abundant goodness as we understand God to be the source of all good, and man to be the recipient. Christ Jesus gave us this comforting promise: ``In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.'' 3 We are unconditionally assured that our place in the Father's house is established. The world did not give us this place, and the world cannot take it away. Recently I was replaced when my term of office expired. It took some effort for me to overcome being sensitive about the taking over of my work by someone else. As it happened, my replacement was one of my best friends. In a way I was pleased about that, but the thought came, ``What if he is more popular than I was, and what if he does a better job?'' All this self-centered thinking was an ego trip that was causing much turmoil in my thinking. As I struggled to gain peace, I acknowledged that man is the reflection of God, and since he reflects all the faculties and capacities of God, of the one divine Ego, he has no separate ego that can be hurt or envious or in any way disturbed. I also knew that anyone who was involved in a righteous endeavor such as this should experience harmony, not discord. Moreover, it was reassuring to know that all who had ever held this position had a part in the continuity of the activity, a vital role in its progress. The final release from this feeling of being replaced came when I could sincerely pray to let this position be a blessing for someone else. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and fishes, --Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply.'' 4 So I was not left out after all; I was blessed. And you will be, too. 1 Ruth 2:12. 2 Retrospection and Introspection, p. 70. 3 John 14:2. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 206.

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