God's Seal Of Approval
MANUFACTURERS often try to enhance the value of their products by displaying a seal of approval granted by a research or consumer organization that has examined the product and attested its conformity to certain standards.Seeking a seal, or symbol, to measure or affirm our own worth is a practice that most of us indulge in, at least occasionally. That approval may take many different forms--a degree, an award, a certain level of salary, or even membership in a professional or social organization. But what happens to our sense of worth if we fail to measure up or if the associations by which we have defined ourselves dissolve? Have we then ceased to have value? We have probably all gone through times, perhaps severe ones, when we doubted our worth to ourselves or others. Such experiences can lead us to reevaluate who and what we really are. The Bible is filled with examples of soul-searching prayer offered by those who followed God and yet found themselves sorely tried. Many of the Psalms that comfort us today are filled with the Psalmist's humble recognition of his own failures and his pleas for God's mercy. Christ Jesus emphasized man's value when he told his disciples, as Matthew's Gospel records: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. . . . Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Jesus' mission revealed God's tender love and care for man and showed man's oneness with God. Because man is wholly spiritual, he never forfeits his relationship to God. Christian Science teaches man's eternal, spiritual oneness with His maker. Through our humble turning to God, we learn more of man's divine nature--our own true nature--as God's image and likeness. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father's loving-kindness. Individuals may seem to be of small value in a world where overpopulation, AIDS, war, and unemployment are rampant. But these conditions are lies about the man of God's creating, who is eternally cherished by God. Man is of inestimable value as the reflection of God. Jesus revealed the Christ, the Messiah, in his life, showing the way for each of us today to begin to learn of the Christliness of our own real nature and to demonstrate it in fuller, richer living. Our individual value takes form in our expression of peace, patience, lovingkindness toward others. The expression of these and other spiritually-based qualities brings increasing good to our daily experience. As we persist in our efforts to express more of man's inherent Godlikeness, however small these efforts may seem, we'll be helping to bear witness to the life-saving, life- redeeming power of God. We read in II Timothy: "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Each of us has God's unchanging love, and this is what determines our true worth--not education or location or resume or paycheck. The next time you are tempted to judge yourself by material measurements--for better or for worse--look for God's love and express it in your own life. It will bring your thinking and living into conformity with the reliable spiritual standard that truly tells us what we are.