Chapter One Hundred Five
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Mrs. Eddy Worked for God, Not for Rewards
In the third chapter of Hebrews, we read of Moses as being a faithful servant in the house, whereas Christ was as a son. The difference between these offices, when interpreted spiritually, discloses an interesting application to our Leader.
It is generally understood, that in the world you can always buy service, whereas loyalty is a voluntary offering, born of sacrifice and affection. The difference between the two involves motive.
From the standpoint of Christian Science, there are two motives which impel effort in its study and practice. One is prompted by the desire to gain the harmony which it promises, health, prosperity, freedom from fear and sin; since mortal man does not enjoy discord, suffering, lack or estrangement from his fellow-man. Thus, in order to produce harmony, man struggles to destroy these conditions through Christian Science. This effort in Christian Science is something for which the student is paid, where the payment is in terms of the human harmony that he gains. Man is rewarded, by having his body manifest a healthy sense and his environment improved. So one might declare that this endeavor in Christian Science is performed as a servant, where the mind is urged to work spiritually, for the sake of the body and the environment. Of course, in the beginning, it is legitimate to employ the natural desire of mortal man for harmony, to teach him the early lessons of Christian Science, but the time comes when this human harmony is found to be insufficient. At this point, the student is ready for the second step.
In the second step, man’s motive begins to become unselfed, and he works for love of God and man, rather than for his own human harmony and comfort. In this higher stage of growth, man does not strive for rewards; for the consciousness of work well done, and of the good established for humanity, becomes his sufficient reward.
Hence, it can be asserted that the work performed as a faithful servant, and as a son, is the difference between working selfishly and unselfishly. The danger connected with the first necessary step, is that the labor of the servant being done wholly for reward, the moment the path becomes wearisome, and the rewards do not follow as quickly as one thinks they should, then self-pity knocks at the door and says, “I am not getting anything out of this, so I am going to try another method.” What, save an unselfed motive, could have ever impelled the Master to continue his endeavor in behalf of God and man right up to the cross? Is it any wonder, that Paul referred to his position as being that of a son, rather than a servant?
One who is working as a son can undergo a crucifixion and still persist in faithful effort. Such a one has the courage and determination to continue to labor and pray, even though he witnesses few results, and receives no personal recompense for his labor. The rewards of such a struggle may be delayed, but they always come. The point is, however, that when one is seeking the welfare of the whole, rewards do not constitute the object of his travail, but an unsought increment. Jesus referred to this attitude of sonship when he said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Mrs. Eddy stood head and shoulders above her students, because she worked as the son, ready to lay her all on the altar, with no thought of rewards. Only one impelled by such an unselfed motive, could feel the suffering of the flesh, and, instead of directing spiritual power to dispel it, employ it to drive one’s thought higher in the scale of spiritual being, waiting in patience for the arrival of the new birth. This coincides with what Mrs. Eddy writes on page 200 of Miscellaneous Writings, “I enjoy the touch of weakness, pain, and all suffering of the flesh, because it compels me to seek the remedy for it, and to find happiness, apart from the personal senses.”