Taking Stock

In commercial life it is customary for every business man or firm at some time during the year to "take stock." With most concerns this stock taking time comes at the end of the calendar year, and is coincident with a general balancing of accounts. The object is to end all guessing and uncertainty as to the assets and liabilities of the concern, and to obtain definite information as to its gains or losses for the year. The good merchant at such a time does not try to deceive himself into the belief that every piece of goods on his shelves is worth what he paid for it, but relentlessly marks down whatever undesirable stock is on hand and charges off every uncollectable account, thus commencing the new year with his books showing no fictitious values and no inflated assets. He knows that if he were to withdraw from his business the profits shown by his books before this readjustment of values had been made, he would in all probability seriously impair his capital and it would be only a question of time until failure would result.

Every Christian Scientist "has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death" (Science and Health, p. 450),—a mighty undertaking and one that demands his highest powers of achievement. If, as was the Master, he is diligently about his "Father's business," can he afford to do less in the way of ascertaining his actual standing, his gains and losses, than is done by the prudent business man? Can he afford to go on from year to year without a careful analysis of his spiritual, mental, and moral condition, a scrutiny of his thoughts, his habits, and his desires, an appraisal of their value, a sacrifice of all of these that may be termed "dead stock"? Surely it is only when this has been conscientiously accomplished that he is in a position to know his true standing as a Christian Scientist; whether he is adding to his store of blessings, or whether he is simply storing up a lot of beliefs of life and pleasure in matter which will in time absorb all his capital and result in failure, as surely as the accumulation of "dead stock" and bad debts will result in the failure of the merchant.

Furthermore, the Christian Scientist's stock taking, instead of being confined to an annual accounting, needs to be a daily and hourly process, since the "judgment day of wisdom," Mrs. Eddy tells us on page 291 of Science and Health, "comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man is divested of all material error." Then his accounting should be not an irksome duty, but a pleasure, a time of refreshing, a counting of blessings as well as a condemnation of misspent opportunities. And still further, his valuable accumulations must not be merely for himself, but rather as held in trust for all mankind. To be of value to himself, his thoughts and desires must include his brother man; they must, in fact, bring peace and happiness, health and surcease from sorrow to all upon whom they rest. His acts must be as carefully designed for general or universal benefit as they are for personal or individual gain. He must recognize that he cannot sweep evil from his own door and leave it for the torment of his brother. His work is not the sweeping of evil from place to place, but its destruction.

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The Model Home
December 30, 1916

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