Obedience and Reward

The abundance and unanimity of the Bible teachings, together with present-day human experiences, are such that it is quite as trite as it is true to state that obedience is prerequisite to reward in connection with all our Christian Science work. But the perversity of human nature necessitates the continual statement and restatement of axiomatic truths. In the light of Christian Science the Scriptural accounts of the reversals or rewards which came to the children of Israel, individually and collectively, as they were either disobedient or obedient to the divine demands, take on added inspiring and practical meanings to Christian Scientists in connection with their everyday problems.

It is noteworthy that frequently Christ Jesus bade those who appealed to him for healing to perform some task or to indicate their desire or willingness to cooperate by some special act. And as they were obedient, they were healed. One such notable instance was that of the ten lepers, who, when they "stood afar off" and cried out to the master Christian for healing, were instructed by Christ Jesus to go show themselves unto the priests. "And it came to pass," we read, "that, as they went, they were cleansed." The record does not indicate or hint that these ten men hesitated and bickered with Jesus for an immediate healing because he previously had healed instantly one troubled with dropsy, or because he had with the Word brought quick release to one who for eighteen years had been bowed together so that she "could in no wise lift up herself." No, they unhesitatingly obeyed the injunction of the Christ as voiced by Jesus. To be sure, the Mosaic law prescribed that those who had been cleansed of leprosy should go to the priest to have certain sacrificial rites performed, after which they might resume their former normal activities and pursuits. But, although these ten men were not yet healed, they promptly set off on the prescribed journey. And, "as they went, they were cleansed." They did not go a short distance, and then listen to the whisperings of the tempter that they had already gone far enough to show their good faith, had thus performed their part, and should now sit down and watch their bodies to see if they really would be healed, before going farther. They took Christ Jesus at his word, performed their assigned duty without audible or mental quibbling; and even before they had gone the entire distance they were cleansed.

Some of the pertinent lessons to be learned from this account are obvious. When we apply for Christian Science treatment, it is not for us to outline as to the time or the requirements necessary for the healing. The mental and perhaps the moral conditions differ with each individual, even though the physical manifestations called disease may appear to be identical, or similar. The claim of human will may be accepted and expressed so definitely and tenaciously by one as to require some act of humble obedience on the part of the suppliant for healing in order that the root of the trouble may be reached. For Christian Science both declares and demonstrates, as did Christ Jesus, that sickness is mental in both its origin and its nature; therefore disease is to be dealt with scientifically and satisfactorily only by the active application of corrective spiritual ideas.

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Lifting up the Christ in Consciousness
September 24, 1927

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