A great deal is being said nowadays about preparedness. Books are written, articles appear in magazines and newspapers, lectures are delivered, and speeches made, all for the purpose of informing us how to prepare to meet evil in some form or other; but notwithstanding all this, few of us seem to realize just what preparedness means. It does not mean alone the act of laying up wealth for a time of depression; it does not consist entirely in providing a lot of men and munitions, ships-of-war, armies and their accouterments. At present these things are all quite necessary, but they do not of themselves constitute all there is to preparedness. It is in knowing how to think rightly that true preparedness consists. It is the man who has ideas who is prepared to meet the foe. Paul says, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God [through Mind] to the pulling down of strong holds." The weapons of Mind are thoughts, not things. Strategy is an idea; Napoleon is credited with saying that he had known an idea to defeat a great army. Let it be understood that it is the idea which accomplishes the result, and not the weapons that are used. Weapons without the knowledge of how to use them are useless, whereas the right idea will produce its own weapons and use them to the best advantage.
Throughout the Bible the idea of preparedness stands out among the experiences of the people of God as a warning to us of this day that we should be prepared to meet the enemy, but we must first understand what the enemy is before we undertake to destroy it. Paul says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Our enemy then is not flesh and blood; it is not people; it is not nationalities; it is that belief of evil in human thought which in its efforts to destroy the divine idea of liberty and freedom would "wade through slaughter to a throne, and shut the gates of mercy on mankind." The Christian Scientist sees the foe in ambush and is prepared to wrest from it its temporary usurpation of power. But unless we are prepared to meet the invader in a scientific way, our efforts are of no avail.
Every recent & archive issue
Podcasts & article audio
Mary Baker Eddy bios & audio
Every recent & archive issue
Podcasts & article audio
Mary Baker Eddy bios & audio
God called upon Noah to build the ark because Noah knew how to do it and was ready to do the work when called upon. Abraham came out from among his people and became the father of a great race, because he was ready when the call came. Had Abraham not been prepared, God could never have intrusted him with this important work, and the history of Israel as we have it to-day would not have been written.
Moses was reared in the household of Pharaoh and was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, but he spent many years tending sheep in the land of Midian, during which time he was not losing a moment in preparing himself for what was to come. He was eighty years old when he began the work of liberating the children of Israel, but this did not discourage Moses. He only knew that the work was to be done and that God was calling upon him to do it; therefore he presented himself with confidence before Pharaoh and demanded that the children of Israel be allowed to depart from Egypt. It did not matter to Moses that he had to wait all these years; his duty was to prepare himself, so that he might be ready when the call came.
David was prepared to meet Goliath long before he knew there was such a person. David was also a shepherd, but he was active, courageous, and trusting. He knew that the power of God was with him, else he could never have slain the lion and the bear which took a lamb out of his father's flock. It was not alone the stone which David slung that killed Goliath. The children of Israel had probably passed over that brook many times where David selected his five smooth stones; they knew the stones were there, but they did not know enough to use them, consequently they saw there no weapon with which to destroy the enemy of Israel. It was David's ability to use the sling that brought the giant to the ground; and his confidence that he could slay the leader of the Philistines was born of the fact that God was with him, and that he relied upon God—Mind—for his intelligence and power.
Jesus did not begin his great life work until he had spent many years in preparation. He had doubtless been educated at his mother's knee and there taught the reverence for the law of God which he displayed in after years. He knew that God was his Father, and that as the offspring of divine intelligence he shared the wisdom and power of his Father. After the Holy Ghost had descended upon him he withdrew to the wilderness, there to prove to himself that he had the right idea of God and that he was prepared to give it to the world. The fact of his miraculous birth was not in itself sufficient for Jesus to depend upon, but his close walk with God and his devotion to the will of his Father was what made him ready for the service that was his to perform.
In the case of our own dearly beloved Leader, she tells us how God had been graciously preparing her during many years for the reception of the revelation of Christian Science (see Science and Health, p. 107). As the world reckons time she was forty-five years of age when this discovery came to her, and during the following forty-four years she wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" and her other writings, founded the Christian Science movement, and led it to its present successful and progressive stage of development. And now do we think that we shall win our battles without due preparation, and without faithful application and devotion to the demands of God?
The question which now confronts us at this critical moment is, Are we doing our share of the work? Are we spending our time in upholding the law of righteousness and knowing the powerlessness of evil in its efforts to bring mankind into subjection? Unless we are doing this, we are accomplishing but little in the right direction. No man or woman ever accomplishes anything without laboring for it. People do not stumble into positions of importance and consequence; these are attained only through constant effort and persistent striving. As Christian Scientists each one of us has enlisted in a warfare of defense, in a warfare of good against evil, in which we are called upon to fight a good fight. The well-known saying "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" applies to Christian Science more than to any other occupation or profession. The great work that lies before us is to prepare ourselves to fulfill our mission, and not simply to talk about it or to speculate upon what others are doing. We must not waste our time in waiting for opportunities to show our ability.
To be a true Christian Scientist demands consecration on our part and a closer walk with God. We cannot waste our opportunities and at the same time defeat the enemy. We cannot divide our interests between God and mammon. "The devotion of thought," Mrs. Eddy says, "to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible (Science and Health, p. 199). There is no excuse for a Christian Scientist to indulge in one moment's delay or to idly wait for something to turn up. There is plenty of work for us all to do, and we should be at it early and late if we expect to accomplish definite results. The spirit of Antichrist which is abroad in the world is not going to yield readily in this warfare. Mortal mind's selfishness, greed, and avarice have too long held sway over mankind to relinquish it without a fierce struggle. It is our privilege to show that organized evil, even though it be carefully thought out years in advance in preparation for its present supreme effort, is powerless when opposed by the understanding of the omnipotence of God, good.
The battle is on to-day, both mentally and physically, and we are in the midst of it. "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." God makes demands upon us now, daily and hourly demands, and we must be ready to bear our share of the burden. To meet the present onslaught of evil requires devotion, application, and determination on our part. We do not have to wait for error to assert itself before we begin our operations against it; we must go right on getting ready. Success is not an accident; it is an achievement that can be won only through striving.
In Christian Science there are no calamities; what seem to be calamities are but so many opportunities. Preparedness means getting our thought ready for the work that lies before us. If we are ready, we shall not have to ask anyone what to do or how to do it; the right thought will come to us wherever we are, and we will go on to certain and everlasting victory. God is Mind, and Mind is the author or the creator of ideas. Whenever we are in difficulty there is a way out; but this way must first present itself to us as an idea, and by following up the idea we gain our liberty. We must see that it is the idea and the use we make of it that liberates, and not the material means which we employ.
There is nothing about an idea that makes it the exclusive property of any person. It does not conceal itself, but lends itself in every possible way to an easy acceptance by the one who wants to entertain it. What we all need then is ideas—right ideas. The one who can entertain a right idea is rich. When an idea begins to work in human thought it produces therein everything that is necessary to its own perfect development. Wisdom manifests itself through ideas. Hence God, divine Mind, is always present, giving to each one of His ideas the power of expression, expansion, and development.
In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 103) our Leader says: "In Science, form and individuality are never lost, thoughts are outlined, individualized ideas, which dwell forever in the divine Mind as tangible, true substance, because eternally conscious."