Our real work can’t be drudgery
A Christian Science perspective: There is meaningful work for all of us, in glorifying God.
Gone are those days of sleeping late, those long vacations. Buckling down before exams was OK, but the prospect of having to perform eight hours a day, five days a week, can make even a highly disciplined student wonder if he or she is really cut out for the working world.
After finishing undergraduate and graduate academic work, I prepared to begin a new job. While many would have been excited at the prospect of working in a large city and starting a new position, I was weighed down with concerns about having to commute an hour to work every day, being assigned mundane tasks eight hours a day, and not having established friends around. I had without doubt a negative attitude.
Then, while reading one evening, I came across this response Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives to the question, “What am I?”: “I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 165). As God’s spiritual image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27), our true identity includes wholeness and joy. I saw my true job as recognizing my unity with God, and expressing joy, vibrancy, and harmony to everyone around me. We all have the capability to do this because God, divine Love, created us as complete, never subject to either stagnation or disruption. God, good, is right where we are, governing His spiritual creation supremely.
As I prayed daily with these ideas, I was able to express sincere helpfulness and happiness in my job. New and bigger responsibilities soon opened up, close friendships were formed, and every day proved to be different and interesting. Daily praying to better understand man’s unity with God has continued to be the groundwork for my working day.
I’ve found that turning wholeheartedly to God and acknowledging His allness and our oneness with supreme Love, good, brings a satisfying sense of purpose and accomplishment. Christ Jesus said: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). He also said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37).
Was it only Christ Jesus who was given the job – the career – of doing the will of God? Of pleasing and glorifying Him? Was it only Christ Jesus who had the ability to demonstrate the harmony and abundance of God? No. While his life mission was certainly unique and special – He was the one and only Messiah, the Son of God – he commanded us all to follow him.
If our sole motive is striving to advance a human career, it can put us at odds with man’s true, spiritual nature. Our true occupation is glorifying God, reflecting such Godlike qualities as integrity, intelligence, patience, love, wisdom, and goodness. This is God’s will for each and every one of us. God provides us with the happy means to accomplish this work.
We can strive daily to argue for happiness and win, to recognize and demonstrate good as the only reality. “If you wish to be happy,” writes Mrs. Eddy, “argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and will win or lose according to your plea” (“Christian Healing,” p. 10).
We don’t need to let a change in physical surroundings – whether it’s from college to an office or whatever – make us argue on the wrong side. Such change doesn’t by itself benefit or harm us. But a change of outlook from a materially based sense of identity to the spiritual and true does bring us more closely into accord with our true, spiritual identity.
As we increasingly understand this, we’ll see more and more that we can’t be stopped from expressing attributes of God, good. Every day can be a step forward, a unique unfolding of God’s infinite goodness for each of us. And if we’re genuinely loving our job of glorifying God, we’ll be a great success at it right now.
This article was adapted from an article in the Dec. 24, 1979, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.