When Paul writes to the Corinthians, "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing," he presents a view not yet universally accepted on the subject of human service. In considering sacrifice for others, or one's own allegiance to duty, comparatively few recognize that the motive of an act is its first and most important element.
Most men have imagined that when they have given what they have felt was a right proportion of themselves or of their means, however grudgingly, to any service, they have done all that was required of them in that particular direction; they may at times have even plumed themselves on their great generosity and self-renunciation in thus giving, and have expected a heavenly reward as a consequence. Their motive in what they have done has, however, often had very scant attention from them.
But not so says Paul! He makes it very plain that unless accompanied with unselfish love, no gift given or duty done can result in any benefit to the giver. From this standpoint one may gain light on the barren nature of the world at large to-day,—barren of that true love which is the oil of consecration to God, good, and which would lubricate all the human machinery necessary to the conduct of the world's affairs. How many, though calling themselves Christian, have attained the heights of unselfish purpose, that purpose which is actuated alone by divine, unselfed love in all that they think and do and say?
Christian Science not only awakens one to the great necessity of examining every motive, but also shows how our purposes may become so purified that we shall be able to realize the truth of what Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 133), "Love makes all burdens light." Jesus declared: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He longed to have men recognize that the way out of burdens is to gain that understanding of divine Love which, when demonstrated, will bring the unselfishness which always opens the door to freedom from all sense of burden.
The method of Jesus and that of Christian Science are then identical, and may they not be stated in the simple need of understanding and practicing unselfed love? Suppose one should start each day with the purpose of seeking not his own, but his neighbor's good; should continually through the day work from the standpoint of Love's blessed demand that he reflect love; should fulfill every duty with the understanding that it was an opportunity to serve lovingly,—think you his day would end in weariness and dismay? Instead, would he not find that he had enjoyed the rest which always results from service unselfishly rendered?
If our path seems a tiresome one, if we seem beset by if we will but remember that love makes burdens light and proceed to let love for our service fill our heart. When we learn in Christian Science that all is Mind and that Mind is Love, we see that our sense of happiness or misery, of burden or true ease, is always the result of our own thoughts and acts. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 266) Mrs. Eddy tells us, "The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, and the saint own heaven by doing right." Then our burdens are of our own making, however contrary this may seem to the ordinary belief about them; and the way out of these burdens must be to change our thinking, to learn always to love to serve.
Whatever we may, then, be called upon to do, even though the service may claim to be unpleasant and distasteful, let us, instead of doing it with revolt, or wounded pride, or dislike in our hearts, change our viewpoint and know that love removes all sense of burden, that real love can be conscious only of good. Then, gratefully accepting each opportunity as one wherein we may learn to love more, how surely shall we find our burdens gone, our unhappiness dissipated, our misery lost in the peace and rest which are ever the result of acts done in meekness and love of service for God and men.
It is a simple lesson, this lesson of letting unselfed love rule in our hearts through a right understanding of service; and its inevitable consequence is the transformation in our lives from apparently ceaseless care and unbearable burdens to the rest of joyous freedom and incomparable blessedness. This lesson learned, all our service will be profitable, not only to others but to ourselves as well; for we shall have come to reflect the Love which "never faileth," and which blesses equally one and all!
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