The Path and the Prize
by Max Dunaway
One day while walking through some foothills, feeling a bit discouraged at his slow progress in studying Christian Science, a man noticed a motorcycle on another hillside. The rider charged up the steep hill; but, just short of the top, the motorcycle was unable to make the steep grade. The cyclist returned to the bottom of the hill, and again charged up the hillside, again stopping just short of the top. He tried again and again, getting a little farther each time, until at last he reached the top of the hill.
The man then realized that, not only had the cyclist’s persistence led to success and victory, but also with each attempt, the cyclist advanced a little farther — and he was clearly enjoying every attempt. “There’s my answer. I’ve been feeling unhappy over my slow progress, but I should be rejoicing in each day’s progress — no matter how slight it may appear to be — and in the privilege of walking in the heavenward path. That’s the real joy of living.”
In one of the hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal are these words: “Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.” (No. 59) How can Christ be both the path and the prize? As we walk in Life’s holy path, each and every day we receive the prize of joyful progress. We behold each day a little more of God’s infinite love for His creation. Each day we see more of man in his divine completeness, unafflicted, untempted, a triumphant and holy idea, whose very being reflects the glory of God.
A Christian Scientist who had been working on a problem for a long time, and without apparent success, once found himself thinking, “Oh, if only I could rise above this problem, I am sure I would be entirely happy.” Then, challenging this thought, he asked himself, “What will be my desire when I do surmount this problem? Will it not be to attain still more spiritual vision? And if I expect to find happiness in that, which I do, why should I not find happiness in working with the facts of being just where I am?”
Paul said of himself, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” What a worthy action this is, and what a worthy prize! How good it is to know that even as we “press toward the mark,” we are receiving the prize of God’s high calling — the ever-unfolding understanding of God and man.
The path of spiritual unfoldment lies before each of us now. The way has been marked clearly for us through the revelation of Christian Science. The Holy Bible and the works of Mrs. Eddy give specific, unmistakable directions to all who choose to walk in the Christly path. To heed these directions and to walk in this path is to receive the prize — a present reward of joyful progress and a greater understanding of God and man.