Overcoming Laziness

One of the most valuable lessons that Christian Science teaches us is the distinction between the guiding voice of divine Principle and the whispers of personal sense. The first time this was brought sharply home to the writer was in the early days of our branch church, when the thought of having a Sunday school was first presented. The idea seemed excellent and I was quite in full accord with it until the friend who had been speaking of it went on to say that the board thought of asking me to be a teacher. This seemed to make the whole undertaking quite different and I said at once that it was out of the question. She however advised me to think it over, as the board meeting would be held a few days later.

For the next few days I was in a mental turmoil. Personal sense argued that it was not honest to undertake work which one was incapable of performing, that it was unfair to the children, and so on. I seemed to see myself sitting there while the children waited expectantly and I sat dumb before them; or worse still, I saw myself beginning and then not being able to go on. The night before the meeting I was firmly determined to refuse the position, but the next morning I found myself still arguing and feeling dissatisfied. I retired to my room and prayed earnestly that I might be guided to a right decision and not be influenced by personal inclination. The psalmist's petition, "O Lord, . . . lead me in a plain path," was my prayer, and immediately the answer came, "Freely ye have received, freely give." After this there could be no hesitation, and I was filled with a sense of thankfulness that there was any work I could do to show my sincere gratitude for all I had received in Christian Science. There was just one moment of fear when I took my place the first Sunday, but the help of divine Mind was at hand: "It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak." Since then there has never been any difficulty, for the treasures of Truth are inexhaustible and the Sunday school work is not, in the final sense, in the hands of persons, but is governed by the divine Mind.

After careful self-analysis one finds that mortal mind is essentially lazy. Even an apparently active person is often fast asleep on certain points; and in addition to fear of taking office there is the holding back from giving testimonies. Error is never so subtle as when it masquerades as goodness and honesty, and to do this it gives pretty names and artistic drapery to some of the most deadening conditions of thought. For instance, an individual will say, "I shall give a testimony when the right time comes; but one must not force things and it should be a spontaneous outpouring of gratitude which impels one to stand up." The one thus influenced settles down comfortably, while others are voicing truth. Some excuse themselves with our Leader's admonition, given on page 485 of Science and Health, "Emerge gently from matter into Spirit." Quite so; by all means let us "emerge gently," for the kingdom of heaven cannot be taken by violence, but we should be quite sure that we are emerging. Over against the sense of reluctance, let us set the command found in the epistle of James, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you;" and again, Mrs. Eddy's words, "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good" (Science and Health, p. 393), proving that there are times when we must wake up, throw off all sense of lethargy, and take the initiative.

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Seeking the Light
November 4, 1916

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