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Take the burden out of work

From the May 30, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Most of us spend a good portion of our daily lives working. And since our success and satisfaction in our various roles on the job, at home, in church, and in the community depend on how we view the work connected with those roles, it’s crucial to get the right sense of work.

The Bible talks about work from the very first chapter, where it relates the story of creation. Genesis tells us, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (1:31). Then, “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made” (2:1, 2).

What does it mean for God’s work to be finished? Christian Science explains that since God, good, is infinite Mind, everything there is exists as an idea in divine Mind and expresses completeness and perfection. How could God’s ideas be anything less than complete and perfect? Divine intelligence is infinite and is always revealing itself in harmony, beauty, and order. 

Since God has already made all, there is nothing left to do or create. Our job is to reflect and glorify God’s moment-by-moment unfolding. But how often do we approach work as something we must produce ourselves, with limited human capacities? Leaving God entirely out of the picture, we worry that we will not have the intelligence, talent, education, or other resources necessary to accomplish the task at hand. We may feel defeated even before we start.

In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy writes of God, “His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 3). Approaching work from this spiritual perspective can turn a difficult, burdensome task into a satisfying unfoldment of blessings, as I found out a number of years ago when I was transferred to a challenging new job.

I was assigned to work with a supervisor who was also new in her position, and our days were pressured and chaotic. Projects often came in late from colleagues and needed quick turnaround to stay on schedule. With both of us unfamiliar with the work, we soon found ourselves in quite a mess. Each day we would get more and more behind, until finally there seemed to be no organization to the day at all. Lacking the time needed to plan and organize, we rushed from crisis to crisis, wasting precious time with the inefficiencies that often result when things are done at the last minute.

 It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

At first it looked as if the obvious solution was to work more hours, so I spent several weeks putting in overtime. But as things got no better and unfinished chores began piling up at home, I realized that this human soil-tilling would not provide the answer. I decided to go back to keeping normal hours and see what I could do to spiritualize my thinking about the work.

I saw that I must get down to my real task, which was to see that God’s work is already done and unfolding each moment in a logical way. I began giving myself and the job a Christian Science treatment before going to the office each morning. I prayed to see more clearly that God, not a human being, was in control, and that God’s handiwork always reflects precision and balance. There could never be too much or too little of anything, and there could never be anything missing in God’s kingdom. I affirmed that God’s timing is spot-on, never slow or late.

As God’s child, I knew I had ready access to every idea in Mind at the very moment it was needed. I also strove to see that, despite insistent claims of many disparate minds with various timetables and plans, there was only one infinite intelligence to generate thoughts. I saw that all real activity must originate in God and reflect the structure—the order—of Truth and Love.

I felt that I must live consistently with my prayer in every detail of my work, so I paid special attention to my work habits, making sure I got to the office on time and was honest about keeping lunches and breaks within the time allotted. I learned to handle business calls with aplomb and not be lured into a lengthy chat when there were deadlines to meet. I also made it a point to leave the office promptly at the end of the workday.

The result of this prayer-based approach to the work was evident right away. 

All real activity must originate in God and reflect the structure—the order—of Truth and Love.

The first week, a couple of time-wasting computer glitches in our system were discovered and resolved, blessing everyone in the department. As I began to listen for divine guidance about when to do things and in what order, I noticed that the workday began to go more smoothly, with fewer last-minute changes and less backtracking. Fellow workers began to respond, too, and sent their projects in sooner and in better shape, with less input required from my supervisor or me. They were also more cooperative when changes were needed. Most helpful of all, I began to get ideas for the work more quickly, so I was able to do a quality job in much less time.

In a very few weeks, all was going well. Instead of a frustrating barrage of problems, the workday became a satisfying flow of solutions supplied to meet each need. With deep gratitude I could see the hand of God in the blessings that unfolded.

Whatever the task before us, we have this guidance from Science and Health: “The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution” (p. 3). God’s work is already complete. Our job is to hew to that rule in our thinking—to acknowledge God’s ever-present goodness and follow His leading. If we do that faithfully, we can expect to see God’s perfection demonstrated in our work, and in every aspect of our lives.

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