Heavenly-mindedness and earthly good

No one was or could be more heavenly-minded than Jesus, and yet no one has done more earthly good than he did.

Upon learning, many years ago, that I’d recently taken a two-week course in Christian Science, a friend remarked, “Now, Judy, spirituality is good to an extent, but promise me you won’t become ‘so heavenly-minded that you’re no earthly good.’ ” She said she was kidding, but I got the feeling she half believed it. 

That saying has been around for a long time. It is thought to have originated with 19th-century poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and was further popularized by Johnny Cash in a 1970s country song. What it says to me is that heavenly-mindedness is assumed to refer to having one’s head in the clouds, separate from and oblivious to humanity and its needs. 

What I’d been learning in Christian Science Primary class instruction was about God—His hereness, nowness, onlyness, allness, goodness, and almightiness. And I felt it was already making me a better wife, mother, neighbor, friend, and citizen—even more caring and committed to helping others. How could striving to keep one’s thought close to God possibly make anyone no earthly good?

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The authority that comes through Christ
June 26, 2023

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