Results of Obedience

In the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke we may read of the ten lepers who were cleansed. Much has been written and spoken about the ingratitude expressed in the fact that but one of them returned to give thanks to God for the healing. This is very natural, because it was blameworthy; but there are also valuable lessons of obedience and its fruits to be drawn from the incident.

The scene is one which appeals strongly to the imagination. The earthly ministry of the Master was approaching its close; and we can readily believe that as he journeyed down to Jerusalem, the countryside was filled with reports of the marvelous works he had wrought wherever he had gone. No doubt the roadway was lined with people who "thronged him" in quest of his help, as we read they so commonly did. No potentate of a temporal earthly kingdom, attended by the pomp and circumstance of wordly position, ever evoked from the hearts of humanity the response which welled forth as the humble but mighty Nazarene quietly pursued his way.

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Among the crowds of people, but yet not really of them because their physical condition required that they stand "afar off," were the ten leprous men who called to him, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." And when Jesus saw them he answered, "Go shew yourselves unto the priests"—apparently these words, and nothing more.

It would not be surprising if a great sense of wonderment and disappointment swept over these men at that moment. They may have been waiting there, long and patiently, in eager anticipation. They doubtless knew that countless persons elsewhere had felt the healing power while in his presence; yet they had made their appeal and apparently received nothing beyond a command requiring something more of them, while their loathsome condition remained unchanged.

Then, however, the wonder of what occurred dawns upon one; for the record continues that "as they went, they were cleansed"! They experienced that change, not as unnumbered others had, while they stood in the Master's presence with his compassionate gaze bent upon them, nor yet when they presented themselves to the priests—but as they unquestioningly did that which they were bidden to do! Shall not we likewise receive as we are found willing to "go"—to be obedient; and do we not all need the lesson?

Doubtless there are moments in which all of us have been inclined to wonder why we have not experienced that condition of harmonious being which we know is, in truth, our rightful portion. Then we shall do well to turn upon the sense of self-pity which inspires the suggestion, and search ourselves and the offending situation to know if we are really being obedient to God's commands. We may be certain that we are not, else the results would be different; and if our search is honest and thorough, we shall be rewarded by the knowledge of the particular in which we are lacking. Our revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, has pointed out to us the occasion for alertness in these matters in the following words in "Miscellaneous Writings" (pp. 267, 268): "The predisposing and exciting cause of all defeat and victory under the sun, rests on this scientific basis: that action, in obedience to God, spiritualizes man's motives and methods, and crowns them with success; while disobedience to this divine Principle materializes human modes and consciousness, and defeats them." With her accustomed clarity and conciseness, she thus places us on our guard.

We may know that we are doing our present part if our thoughts and actions correspond to our highest ideals of what is right and good, feeling assured that, as we continue in the rugged course which stretches before us, our ideals will be further spiritualized and improved as the need appears.

How often, on the other hand, do we hedge our sense of obedience about with reservations, more or less consciously entertained! There is a familiar hymn to which we frequently lend our voice, which proclaims our willingness to go wherever God would have us go, and be whatever He would have us be; but too often there lurks in our hearts the hope that He will not ask us to do or be certain things, nor go to certain places! We feel that we would not really wish to have it so. When such thoughts are detected, we may be sure that we have not yet planted our feet in true obedience.

There was once a man whose every material dependence had apparently been swept away. He was young in the study of Christian Science, though believing himself faithful in the consecration it imposed, so far as he discerned and understood it. He was endeavoring to gain in consciousness and to witness in manifestation a sense of the Father's loving and bountiful supply for all His children. It was something of a shock to him finally to realize that while he had been declaring that he would apply himself to whatever tasks came to his hands to do, he was at the same time saying to himself that he doubtless would not have to do this or that, for God surely knew that he was fitted for better things! He had not definitely catalogued to himself of what those "better things" consisted, but in a general way recognized them as the humanly less demeaning and humble. He needed awakening to the fact that this was not obedience at all, but rather a futile and unworthy attempt to bargain with God. Speaking of an "hour of development" (as indeed all our hours are, if we were but aware of the fact), Mrs. Eddy has written in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 266), "When this hour of development comes, ... spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth." The issue, then, is one from which we cannot escape even if we would. But what child of a loving parent wishes to be forced into the doing of those things he should do? How much less we, who know that infinite wisdom inspires the command!

We therefore need awakening to the fact that as we are obedient and "go," we shall likewise be cleansed, just as surely as were the ten lepers. It is implied that there is a change to be made—a going from some place or thing to some other place or thing. It is, however, always a mental journey from a material sense of things and dependence upon them to the apprehension of spiritual realities and their demonstration. It is a journey taken under God's care and with His guiding hand. How, then, can we be doubtful or fearful in pursuing it, since all God's paths are good, and lead to good? One of our hymns has expressed this in the familiar words:

"How gentle God's commands!
How kind his precepts are!"

Gentleness and kindness are our portion when we yield obedience to the divine behests.

We would forego a comforting lesson, moreover, if, as we turned from the scene of the healing of these lepers, we failed to reflect that, even though they did seem to stand "afar off," they yet found themselves under the compassionate and healing touch of the Christ-spirit. Sometimes a sense of discouragement or a feeling of condemnation leads us to believe that we are far from God's tender, protecting care and cannot gain recourse to it; but that is never true. If there be any who doubt this, let them seek and find in the Christian Science textbook the demonstrable assurance of that primary and essential fact which Christian Science alone gives. Distance, in the sense of absence or separation, has no part in God and His omnipresent love.

Copyright, 1927, by The Christian Science Publishing Society, Falmouth and St. Paul Streets, Boston, Massachusetts. Entered at Boston post office as second-class matter. Acceptance for mailing at a special rate of postage provided for in section 1103, Act of October 3. 1917, authorized on July 11. 1918.

Daily Supply
July 2, 1927

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