Cooperation of Grateful Thought

It may have been hard for Elijah to say to the widow who was gathering sticks for a fire to prepare what, in that time of sore famine, she believed to be her household's last scanty ration of meal, "Make me thereof a little cake first." He put her hospitality to the test, and her generous response to his need qualified her to entertain an angel unawares. It broke the spell of her fear, unclasped the grip of limitation, "and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days." Would she have been ready for the great privilege of entertaining as her guest this man of God, and profiting by his instruction, had her heart not been bidden to arise to the unselfish contemplation of another's need? There is here a hint to many a self-sacrificing parent, sister, brother, or friend who, in submerging his own needs and interests in service to another, is overlooking the need of giving the other an opportunity to reflect the same Christly qualities. Unless one's service to others is of a nature to subtract from, rather than to add to, the sum total of human selfishness, it is not of the highest value. The purpose of genuine Christian Science is not to promote mere material interests and activities, to produce unlimited loaves and fishes for mortals; neither is it to remove with the least possible discomfort the results of wrong conduct.

The practitioner who responds with patient love to call after call from one whose demands indicate some such mistaken concept of the nature and purpose of Christian Science treatment, may need to summon the moral courage to startle selfish thought out of its own bondage. On page 68 of her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy says, "Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion." The first promise of Scripture, contingent upon obedience to God, is of prosperity and sufficiency in terms of human need. But throughout the Bible, as a constant accompaniment to the promises, certain conditions to be observed are unmistakably set forth; the demand is made for the spiritually mental qualifications of gratitude, meekness, mercy, industry, justice, faithfulness, love. Nowhere is it indicated that the gift of God can be purchased with money; nowhere is there the smallest encouragement for one to imagine that he can indulge himself in materialism and still prosper under God's favor. The Bible plainly states that materiality is idolatry and that it tends to shut one away from knowledge of the presence of God.

Likewise, throughout her writings, our Leader sets forth too plainly to be mistaken by any sincere student, the fact that consecration to God, constant endeavor to spiritualize thinking, is the only certain way to health. And in "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 2), she says: "Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle-call to thought and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness. The emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin."

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The Way
October 5, 1929

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