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Not at the Mercy of Others

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

Hypercompetition is a hot word in corporate restructuring. It was recently defined in this publication as "a new business climate where firms must constantly refine strategies and adapt to stay ahead of competitors." Hypercompetition often involves cutting jobs, lowering salaries, or demoting employees. It's done in an attempt to help a business stay ahead. But what if you're one of the people who have been affected by such actions? In considering this, I thought of something you might not think is relevant at first. But let me explain.

What I thought of was the character Joseph in the Bible. Genesis says, "Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites ... And the Lord was with Joseph ... And his master saw that the Lord was with him . . . . And Joseph found grace in his sight, ... and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand" (39:1-4). Then through a series of events Joseph was falsely accused; all of this was taken away from him and he was thrown into prison. In one sense, he was demoted.

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But in prison Joseph continued his reliance on God. And among other accomplishments, he proved himself to be an interpreter of dreams-not exactly something businesses are looking for these days, but highly respected then. Joseph was able to do this because of his love for and loyal trust in God. When the day came that Pharaoh needed a dream interpreted, and no one else who tried could do it, he sent for Joseph. After Joseph told the king what his dream meant, the king replied, "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?" He said that he couldn't find anyone as discreet and wise. So he not only put Joseph in charge of his house but made him prime minister over the land, saying, "Only in the throne will I be greater than thou" (41:38-40). Joseph was put in position to save the nation and others from starvation when a famine came--and he did.

So what does this have to do with hypercompetition in 1996? I would say a lot. It's noteworthy that Joseph wasn't spared his losses or the unjust prison sentence. But he did continue to rely on God to help him. His understanding of God as present with him, even in the midst of loss, sustained him. And eventually he recovered his loss. It's hard to know just exactly how Joseph prayed or what he thought, but the Bible does record that God was with him.

What about us? Is God with us when we're faced with loss? Yes. God gives us spiritual-mindedness--a trust that He is directing us, even when the outcome doesn't look so hot. Spiritual understanding reveals that employment, resources, and position don't depend on humans. They come directly from God. Joseph proved that his career was under the direction of God, not at the mercy of others. Before anything changed, he was already trusting God.

A woman in more recent times who always trusted God, even in periods of great loss, was Mary Baker Eddy. She discovered Christian Science and wrote a book about it that is based on what Christ Jesus taught. Here she used the word Soul as another name for God: "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 60).

Seeking security in Soul, rather than in any job, is the way to find something lasting. The fact is, we're always in possession of employment, success, sufficiency. Why? Because these are laws of God. They are like Him in nature: eternal and ever available. They can't be taken away from anyone. Thinking this way (perhaps as Joseph might have done) won't leave you up in the air. It will actually help you in finding more security in employment and income.

Nothing that God gives you is limited. You're not someone who is used up. God is not used up and exhausted. Goodness is found first within thought, within consciousness, and then is expressed in living. Hypercompetition can't threaten your security.

Articles and features on Christian Science appear in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.

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