How to work together
A Christian Science perspective: Reliable prayer enables us to promote teamwork.
“Love never ends. What a relief!” This is what I thought after reading The Daily News Briefing from The Christian Science Monitor as well as a leading European newspaper. I had scanned a seemingly endless list of troubles, all involving in one way or another a shocking inability of people to work together harmoniously. But I turned to the idea that spiritual love is infinite – it never fails and never ends – which is what Paul said in his famous letter to the Christian community in Corinth: “Love never ends” (I Corinthians 13: 8, Luther Bible translation). The King James Version expresses another sense of it: “Charity never faileth.”
Without even the tiniest bit of love – without mutual respect, kindness, patience – it’s impossible to work together. But this is the limited, material perspective of love from our human view. The spiritual perspective reveals love to be divine and unfailing, because it is of God. Paul was writing to the Christians in Corinth from the perspective of spiritual sense, showing that Christly love can strengthen and comfort us.
As we understand Paul’s message, we can be as moved by the Christ as Paul was and feel more of the spiritual love that enables us to work together globally. This is so because the Christ is the message of God – showing us that God is divine Love itself. This Christ message reveals that everyone is linked to Love and expresses Love, because God made us in His image and likeness. Christ Jesus lived and taught this spiritual link between God and man.
When asked to work together with an individual who had a reputation of being difficult and erratic, I took a deep breath. We had to manage a project, and it didn’t go well the first weeks. In one particularly difficult encounter, the most reliable and logical piece of my proposal was suddenly ripped apart. My logic just didn’t reach him. I was so exhausted and maxed out. But as soon as I felt frustration and defeat, I quietly reached out to divine Love for clarity of thought. Was there any chance for teamwork at all?
What a delightful surprise it was to realize that the Christ was there to lead me toward an infinite stock – an unending inventory – of forgiveness and love. I felt as if I had taken my empty bowl of depleted energy and discovered a huge pantry filled with endless shelves of forgiveness, charity, generosity, goodness, kindness, compassion, tenderness, and endurance. I caught a glimpse of divine Love’s resources and infinite range. My patience couldn’t end because I was God’s reflection and “Love never ends.” I had an inexhaustible reservoir to draw from, right there, with no limits whatsoever.
With renewed energy, all my frustration melted away, and I began to see that divine Love wasn’t just my source, but that it was everyone’s source. This understanding of Love inspired me, and showed me that Love was the foundation for all aspects of our communication and teamwork. Gradually, I found ways to use stock from my “pantry of Love,” finding more patience and wisdom, too. This resulted in good teamwork without resentment, and, in the end, our finished project benefited a large number of people. This insight into the resources Love provides has never left me.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper and of Christian Science, explains how the understanding of divine Love elevates us and others: “Love is the Principle of divine Science; and Love is not learned of the material senses, nor gained by a culpable attempt to seem what we have not lifted ourselves to be, namely, a Christian. In love for man, we gain a true sense of Love as God; and in no other way can we reach this spiritual sense, and rise – and still rise – to things most essential and divine” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 234).
We can rely on Love, divine Principle, to rise above problems however large, because Love is the basis for better cooperation – Love is what we truly reflect. Starting with the Principle that is Love gives us a reliable foundation to complete our projects successfully.
While my experience may be small, the Principle it illustrates is not. The pantry of Love is never empty; the reservoir of Principle is never depleted. It enables us to get up from the seat of lamentation and become part of problem-solving. We can learn from Love how to work together better.