Our Spiritual Growth in the Church
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Precepts, Vol. 1 by Gilbert Carpenter, page 3
When the “babe in Christ” first enters the church, he is fed and nourished by the church — the church gives him what he needs. The next step in order is, for the babe to become a giver to the church, as part of his becoming a man, because one’s development and growth in helping others is an essential part of his progress. First the church provides a blessing to the individual directly. Yet that is only one step in the teaching. The next step is the necessity for the member to learn the obligation and need of furnishing from his overflowing cup the healing thought for the congregation. Once the member has reached this point of growth, he must never return to the conception that he is fed by the church, that his spiritual growth results from being helped by the church apart from the growth he gets by helping the church.
First the church helps him, and then in turn he helps the church; then he must finally graduate with honors into the greater kingdom of God where he must receive his inspiration, his wisdom, and his guidance from above, and must eschew everything that tends to interfere with his ability to receive directly from God. At that point everything must be given up, in order to reach the highest peak of spiritual endeavor; yet this spells no withdrawal from the organization, but merely a more scientific attitude toward it, and a greater support of it.