Take the burden out of work
A Christian Science perspective: How can we find inspiration and harmony in our work on the job, at home, or elsewhere?
Most of us spend a good portion of our daily lives working. And since our success and satisfaction in our various roles depend on how we view the work connected with them, it’s crucial to get the right sense of work.
The Bible talks about work from the very first chapter, where it relates the story of creation. Genesis tells us, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (1:31). Then, “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (2:1).
What does it mean for God’s work to be finished? Christian Science explains that since God, good, is infinite Mind, everything there truly is exists as an idea in divine Mind and expresses completeness and perfection. Since God has already made all, our job is to reflect and glorify God’s moment-by-moment unfolding of harmony, beauty, and order.
But how often do we approach work as something we must produce ourselves, with limited human capacities? Leaving God entirely out of the picture, we may worry that we will not have the intelligence, talent, or other resources necessary to accomplish the task at hand.
The founder of this paper, Mary Baker Eddy, writes of God, “His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 3). Approaching work from this spiritual perspective can turn a difficult, burdensome task into a satisfying unfoldment of blessings, as I found out a number of years ago when I was transferred to a challenging new job.
My supervisor was also new in her position, and our days were pressured and chaotic. Projects often came in late from colleagues. With both of us unfamiliar with the work, we soon found ourselves in quite a mess. Each day we would get more and more behind. Lacking the time needed to plan and organize, we rushed from crisis to crisis.
At first it looked as if the obvious solution was to work more hours, so I spent several weeks putting in overtime. But as things got no better and unfinished chores began piling up at home, I realized that this soil-tilling would not provide the answer. I decided to go back to keeping normal hours and see what I could do to spiritualize my thinking about the work.
I saw that I must get down to my real task, which was to see that God’s work is already done and unfolding each moment in a logical way. Each morning, I prayed to see more clearly that God was in control. There could never be too much or too little of anything in God’s kingdom, and God’s timing is spot on, never slow or late.
I felt that I must live consistently with my prayer, so I paid special attention to my work habits, making sure I got to the office on time and left the office promptly at the end of the workday.
The result of this prayer-based approach to the work was evident right away. A couple of time-wasting computer glitches were discovered and resolved, blessing everyone in the department. As I began to listen for divine guidance about when to do things and in what order, the workday began to go more smoothly, with fewer last-minute changes and less backtracking. Fellow workers began to respond, too, and sent their projects in sooner and in better shape. They were also more cooperative when changes were needed. Most helpful of all, I began to get ideas for the work more quickly, so I was able to do a quality job in much less time.
In a very few weeks, all was going well. Instead of a frustrating barrage of problems, the workday became a satisfying flow of solutions supplied to meet each need. With deep gratitude I could see the hand of God in the blessings that unfolded.
God’s work is already complete. Our job is to hew to that rule in our thinking – to acknowledge God’s ever-present goodness and follow His leading. If we do that faithfully, we can expect to increasingly see God’s perfection demonstrated in our work, and in every aspect of our lives.
This article was adapted from an article in the May 30, 2016, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.