In a discussion on the subject of labor, a student of Christian Science remarked to another: "To go back to the work one did ten years ago seems retrogression. One should progress." Quickly came the kind and helpful reply: "Perhaps your idea of labor and your idea of progress need correcting. Ten years ago you may not have had the right idea of work. You may have to go back, as you call it, until you get the correct view. In getting this right view, you come to know what true work is, and thus you do progress." Not only was the reply illuminating, but the more it was pondered the clearer became the understanding of true labor. Looking back to the thought that had been held ten years before of this special work, it was seen that it had then been considered only as a means of earning a living, getting one's bread in the sweat of one's brow, as the Adam-man had been condemned to do because of his belief in materiality. In the light of the kindly, guiding counsel of the friend, it was seen as service, as brotherly helpfulness; and whereas in the past it had been drudgery, now it was joy.

"We need to correct our ideas in regard to many forms of work," continued this friend in the same interview, "and thus we bring healing to the business world; and healing is needed in the business world quite as much as in the physical realm. Business must be seen truly." This thought also came illuminatingly when later a friend was somewhat shamefacedly apologizing for certain work she had taken up. She felt it beneath her, but there seemed nothing else to do and so she had very pluckily, as she considered, accepted it. Such work entered into with the right motive would be a healing in this line of labor. It would bring to the world's view of it the thought that no labor is menial if it is worthily performed and is of service. And the world to-day needs this healing. No task was too lowly for Jesus to perform if thereby he healed an incorrect view of it. In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 340) Mrs. Eddy says, "There is no excellence without labor; and the time to work, is now."

Work, or labor, is simply service, the expression of love, helpfulness, usefulness. It may be called various names by the world, but in essence it is a contribution to the general good. In order to heal in our own thought an incorrect view of some special kind of work, we may have to go back, seemingly, to tasks we may think we have outgrown; but this is not retrogression; it is progression. It may be a healing necessary to the perfection required of us, or our opportunity by engaging with the right motive in some task the world is not appraising correctly, to bring healing to a wider need. Having done our work in either of these ways, we do not stop. We go on to fuller expression, to what from the world's point of view is considered larger work. We cannot, however, go on to larger activities from which there will be no turning back, until each step thereto has been taken correctly. To express it differently, we must lay each stone truly and perfectly in the foundation upon which the superstructure rests. We must be "faithful over a few things" before we can be, or in order to be, made "ruler over many things." As Paul says, "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." The real work is simply serving Principle by intelligent activity.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

God's Perfect Man
July 10, 1920

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.