More Jonathans

The world needs more Jonathans, with their faithful affection and brotherly love. This thought Mrs. Eddy has expressed in her 1895 address to The Mother Church (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 110): "Beloved children, the world has need of you,—and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives."

That Jonathan exemplified these desirable traits of character to a marked degree is apparent from a study of his service to David. The story runs that when Jonathan first became acquainted with David "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." Moreover, "Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David."

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It was Jonathan who manifested unselfish joy for his friend's honorable position in the kingdom, even though it meant relinquishing his own rightful rank and power. It was Jonathan who watched faithfully to give wise counsel and friendly protection so that David was able to rise to prominence. No one would adjudge Jonathan a greater man than David; yet, no one can minimize the self-abnegation and great love which Jonathan manifested.

Usually the Davids are finally acclaimed by a grateful world; the Jonathans may live unsung and unpraised. Nevertheless, behind every great figure bearing the world's burdens, usually there stands a watchful, loving sentinel, lightening the load of his leader, and fulfilling a life task of faithful comfort and support. For Abraham, there was Sarah; for Jacob, there was Rachel; for Naomi, there was Ruth; for Jesus, there was John. All Jonathans! Faithful and loyal they were, comforting through their loving ministrations the overburdened friend, and pointing the way to further victory.

While we are praying for courage and spiritual light, watching for the maturity of a great idea, let us not neglect to be a Jonathan, humble and sincere, scorning the self-interest of a Saul. What are some of the daily tests and trials that await a Jonathan? Would not the list include absence of criticism, absence of jealousy, absence of selfishness, as well as the presence of faithfulness, understanding, sympathy, and spiritual unity?

Does not a Jonathan comfort and support, rather than unjustly criticize? Does he not see good as ever present, having faith that any apparent error will dissolve because of the manifest integrity of thought? Does not a Jonathan conquer envy and jealousy? Does he not realize that another's accomplishment of some worth-while victory makes him freer to progress rejoicingly? Does not a Jonathan think in terms of serving, rather than in terms of self-aggrandizement and self-interest? The paramount question in his heart must be, What can I do to help? rather than, What do I get out of this relationship? Is not a Jonathan faithful in his affection, steadfast to manifest good? He must guard against tempest-tossed, conflicting human emotions through learning to "judge righteous judgment." Does not a Jonathan understand in a measure the struggles, temptations, and triumphs of humanity? He must appreciate greatness of endeavor; for thus he himself may become great.

So, from even such a cursory view of his daily tests, it can be seen that it is no small task to be a Jonathan. Indeed, the endeavor includes all that Mrs. Eddy indicates on page 254 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The human self must be evangelized."

The Substitute Sunday School Teacher
July 9, 1932

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