"Seek ye first the kingdom of God"

It is a pity that the word salvation is used so commonly with such an entire absence of proportion. The result is that to the man in the street it has become largely meaningless, if not positively jargon. Writers, like Dickens, have pilloried the offense and the offender in caricatures such as Stiggins and Chadband, but that has aggravated the difficulty rather than ameliorated it. Yet the word after all simply means safety, and if a man's spiritual safety has come to mean nothing to him, then is he a materialist indeed. Christ Jesus, who was not merely the greatest moralist but the most wonderful Scientist whom the world has ever seen, knew better than any teacher what salvation really meant, and gave the quest of it the first place in his philosophy. "Therefore take no thought," he told his audience, in the greatest sermon and most wonderful scientific lecture ever given to the world, "saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Now exactly what a man makes of this saying is, perhaps, the acid test of what Truth really means to him. It would be as ridiculous and impertinent as it would be unscientific to advise any one how to order his life so as to be in accordance with Truth. The problem is an entirely personal one, and should be wrought out by the individual, without criticism or interference from the outside. The issue is too vital a one for that, for it is never scientific to attempt or advise demonstrations beyond the understanding of the demonstrator. At the same time, the words are so direct as to leave little margin for mental quibbling; and piling Pelion upon Ossa in the way of delay always ends fatally. "The demands of Truth are spiritual," Mrs. Eddy writes, on page 170 of Science and Health, "and reach the body through Mind. The best interpreter of man's needs said: 'Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink.'" What happens to the man who takes undue thought for the morrow, Jesus made quite clear in the story of the rich man who, when his barns were bursting, determined to pull them down and build greater. "Thou fool," came the scorching comment of the man who had laid aside everything to save mankind, "this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

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"He that hateth gifts"
December 18, 1920
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