by Samuel Greenwood
It can be helpful and encouraging to look back and see how far we’ve progressed and how our lives have improved through the practice of Christian Science, but to compare our progress with someone else’s is never wise. Such comparisons usually lead to either a state of self-righteousness, that we’re doing so much better than our brother, or into discouragement, because our brother seems to be doing so much better than we are.
Each of us is responsible for his own work, not that of anyone else. God expects every man to do his duty; that is, to express his full measure of sweetness, purity, love, goodness, and all the other Godlike qualities which make up the man of God’s creating. This is not too much for the divine Creator to expect of His children, and it is not more than we should expect of ourselves. This faithfulness to man’s true nature, makes life blessed and glorious.
To be good should be the highest ambition of all men. To have a less noble desire is to invite evil into our thoughts, and become its servant. Jesus defined this high ambition as seeking the kingdom of God first. If we are diligent and wise in the use of our one talent, we shall not compare ourselves with the man who has two or five, and so contaminate our one unique talent with ingratitude and jealousy; but we will rejoice in our brother’s abundance. Let us not compare our own progress with those beyond us, except to give thanks that their experience is a bright promise of the larger good awaiting us!
To seek good first is to see only good within ourselves, and also within others. It means that we should picture all men as citizens of God’s kingdom, the product of good only, and hold this picture before our mental vision whenever we think or talk of others or of ourselves. This does not cover evil, but uncovers it, revealing its falsity, and finally dissipating it in the knowledge that God’s work is absolutely true and perfect.
There is no lack or limit in the Truth of being. The source of goodness, beauty, and joy is exhaustless, yielding more than the heart of man can conceive. To gain this right apprehension is to lose the sense of jealousy or discouragement because we think others are in advance of us, or the sense of superiority because we think we are in advance of others.
To correctly understand our own individual place in God’s universe — which is possible to us in Christian Science — is to understand the harmonious interrelationship of all the ideas in God’s infinite creation. In this understanding, we each have our own position which another cannot fill, our own work which another cannot do, and our own reward which no other can receive. Realizing this, we can be satisfied to just be ourselves, no matter how modest our position seems or how insignificant our work appears to be, knowing that that position rightly filled, and that work well done, are essential to the perfection and harmony of God’s universe.