The finer things
A RECENT newspaper column noted the apparent decline of traditional ``adult pleasures'' in favor of new ones. Such things as establishing a home, rearing children, serving the community and the public schools, as well as the enjoyment of work, have become less important to many than financial success, travel, leisure, food, and so forth. Isn't this a question of values? And what could be more important than the values we choose to pursue? Our choice touches us deeply as individuals, has a profound influence on our children, and does much to determine the kind of world in which we live.
What are the ``finer things'' worthy of our pursuit? Perhaps the Apostle Paul's statement in Colossians ``Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth''1 can serve as a helpful guide. Isn't it logical that the finer things have their roots in the ``things above'' of which Paul speaks?
Is the term things above contradictory? After all, one doesn't normally think of God and spiritual ideals as ``things.'' Yet God isn't an abstract, distant Being to be brought out only on Sundays and religious holidays. God is divine Love and Life itself, as we can gather from the Bible. God is Father-Mother, the only genuine creator. He is real, just as He is omnipresent and all-powerful. God is knowable and understandable in very tangible ways. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says, ``Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as `the great unknowable;' but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near.''2
The ``things above,'' which come from the one omnipresent God, are concrete elements in man's existence. Things like God's infinite love for man, His nature as giver and sustainer of all life, His constant care for each of His children, and His inclusion of each one of His offspring in the perfection of the divine order -- these are but a few of the things above.
We don't need to think of these things as abstract or far-off. They too are here, at this moment, and can greatly influence our lives. Turning wholeheartedly to the things of God each day is prayer. Though we may not find it easy, we can allow them to govern the values with which we go about daily living. Paul writes, ``Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.''3
I can cite several examples from my own experience in which I have learned of a ``finer thing.'' For one, I am replacing constant concern for money (generally, not having enough) with generosity. If God is the giver of good to His children, then generosity better characterizes this flow of good than does worry.
Now I am more committed to service than I am to seeking the advantage ambitiously. This is a higher expression of my true selfhood as the image of God, divine Love. This service carries over into my profession, my church and community, and, of course, my family.
I am also more committed to productive, progressive activity than I am to ease or entertainment. I'm committed to being about the Father's business, and I am learning that this is strengthening rather than tiring.
To set our affections on things above is to discern more of the spiritual reality of God and man and to see more of that reality expressed in our lives. It's to move forward in the direction Jesus pointed out. It's to see what the finer things really are.
1Colossians 3:2. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 596. 3Philippians 4:8.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:31-33