“Labour not for the meat which perisheth”
From the Christian Science Sentinel, April 26, 1919, by William D. McCrackan
The labor problem is the problem of understanding substance. As long as substance is conceived of as matter, so long will material means, physical force, and war seem necessary for the acquisition of substance, and discord and decay brand such efforts as worse than fruitless. When the teaching of Christian Science is applied that substance is spiritual, then it will be seen that substance must be sought “in spirit and in truth.” All must learn this lesson in order that men and women may become “workers together with him” and love’s labor be not lost.
The laborer needs to know that his riches lie in God, not in his employer. The tendency to divide human beings into rich and poor, laborers and capitalists, proceeds from materialistic reasoning. There is no divinding line between God’s children, and there will be none between mortals when the yardstick of matter ceases to be used as a measure. Viewed from the standpoint of spiritual attainment, what can mere matter declare concerning man? All need healing, forgiveness, security, salvation, and substance, and Spirit alone can supply these needs. Therefore all are on a basis of equality before God. The man of much money has no security for his riches except in God. Without divine protection no investments are worth the paper they are written on. The word of an honest man and the steel walls of a bank safe are no protection against loss and poverty, unless these riches are turned over to God to keep. Belgium and France illustrate how riches can be lost in a night.
Jesus once said to the crowd which followed him, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” True labor concerns itself with the spiritual meat which is invisible. Physical labor has its right place, but it should be an effect of spiritual activity, and so understood would always be highly productive. In an address read before The World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 Mrs. Eddy had the following to say: “To the sore question ‘What are the working men’s rights?’ Science answers, justice and mercy, wherein the financial, civil, social, moral and religious aspect of all questions reflect the face of the Father. And this question will not rest till both employer and employe are actuated by the spirit of this saying of the meek and mighty Son of God: ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ ” (The World’s Parliament of Religions, Vol. II, p. 1423).
The Golden Rule cannot be understood or obeyed from a material basis. “The face of the Father” is not matter but Spirit; therefore men and women of all types of character and degree of wealth or poverty can unite in Spirit and there find their inexhaustible riches. Matter involves limitation. If substance is believed to be material, then much substance for one individual must mean less substance for another, and the process could be carried forward until all substance would be in the hands of a few. But when substance is recognized as Spirit, substance can neither be lessened nor monopolized and the gain of one does not detract from the gain of all. When man learns of the abundance of God, there will not be any strife or strike over who shall have or who shall not have, as supply will not be a fearful or selfish consideration, since the Father will be recognized as the source of all good. The abundance of air and sunshine is never limited. Herein lies a lesson for rich and poor. True brotherhood can be expressed by overcoming selfishness, envy, greed, and revenge.
Under date of January 6, 1895, a Boston newspaper reported of Mrs. Eddy’s manner of life at Pleasant View, Concord, New Hampshire: “She employs a number of men to keep the grounds and farm in perfect order, and it was pleasing to learn that this rich woman is using her money to promote the welfare of industrious workmen, in whom she takes a vital interest. Mrs. Eddy believes that ‘the laborer is worthy of his hire,’ and, moreover, that he deserves to have a home and family of his own. Indeed, one of her motives in buying so large an estate was that she might do something for the toilers, and thus add her influence toward the advancement of better home life and citizenship” (Pulpit and Press, p. 49). She who toiled for others as no one else has done, loved the toilers everywhere and taught multitudes to obey the command, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth.” Her teaching at this hour is paramount to solve the labor problem on a basis of impartiality, which is a divine quality of the heavenly Father-Mother.