Christian Science in Business
John W. Doorly, C.S.B., of London, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
I am not going to attempt to present to you the subject of business from the world's point of view. I believe that there is in business already too much of the world's point of view. I am going to present this subject to you in the spirit in which I believe that Jesus of Nazareth would have presented it. According to the teachings of Christian Science, this is the only proper way to present any subject to humanity. I would say to you at the beginning that I do not believe that business is an activity in which men should strive, sometimes at the expense and ruin of other men, to gain material things and resources to lavish upon themselves or on their own families. Anyone can see that there is nothing Christlike or even uplifting in such a proceeding.
From the Christian Scientist's point of view business is a great school in which mortals may learn certain essential facts; these facts are necessary for happiness, for success, for health, and for salvation. Without these facts, Christian Science says, no man can be truly happy, successful, healthy, or holy, no matter how many material things he may have acquired.
Jesus once enunciated some truly fundamental truths to mankind in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, and these truths have ever since been considered to be the standard of life by thinking men and women; also the experience of the centuries since these facts were uttered is that when men and nations have given no heed to them, their human attainments have in the end failed miserably; some of these facts, however, mankind has yet to take seriously.
The people to whom Jesus was speaking in his sermon were people with instincts and impulses just like those of the men and women in this audience. They too thought that they had to do the daily grind for food and clothing; whilst their wants were probably simpler, their means of satisfying these wants were also more limited. The fact is that their problem of livelihood was probably very much like ours, and no doubt they too thought that unless they paid the rent and made good the baker's bill through a material process, they were going to be in a bad way. Jesus was no doubt conscious of all these things, yet what did he advise them? One would think that his advice to them would have been as to how these things might be more readily procured. He might have spent the time telling them of a better process for tilling, or a quicker way to manufacture sandals, or of a better way to breed cattle. But he did none of these things. Instead he advised them as follows: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heave, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heard be also . . . No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink: nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? . . . And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"
Was Jesus a mere idealist who had no practical sense of the human necessities? Did not the mighty Nazarene feed the multitudes in the desert? Did he not still the tempest, walk on the water, and forgive sin, so that the individual no longer desired to sin? Did he not heal the sick, cleanse the leper, and even raise the dead? Did there ever live a more practical man than Christ Jesus? If his way of accomplishing these things was a practical way, then undoubtedly the way of the world is impracticable. Can you think of a business man, no matter how many millions he has accumulated, who can redeem his drunken son and say to him, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," or could heal his paralyzed child? Do you know a business man, who if stranded in the desert, with even the few he loved best, could produce enough food to prevent them from starving, even though he had the wealth of Croesus? What a limited affair is the financial success that the world strives after! No wonder Jesus said: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you."
Jesus' Idealism Practical
The bane of mankind's history has been that men have regarded the teachings and accomplishments of Jesus as too idealistic and too impracticable for ordinary, everyday experience. They have not realized that Jesus understood God's spiritual law, which is always and ever available. There is no record in Jesus' teachings that he ever suggested that these works were impossible for other men: on the contrary, he insisted that they should be done, and done by all Christians. He even declared, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also: and greater works than these shall he do." What then is the trouble? What is the reason that these works are not still accomplished? Christian Science declares that the root of the trouble is the gross materialism of mortals, and their false faith in things material. Jesus undoubtedly knew this, therefore he advised men to turn away from the material or mortal sense of things, and to seek "first the kingdom of God."
This is the advice that I am going to give to you business people today. Furthermore, I am going to say to you that if you will seek first the kingdom of God, instead of seeking first material things, then indeed "all these things shall be added unto you."
Let me remind you that if we have today what we call human progress it is because of the adherence of Jesus, and of other less spiritually minded men and women, to spiritual facts. Take out of present-day thought the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and of the Commandments, and we would relapse to the grossest materialism. Suppose, on the other hand, that there had been more adherence to spiritual teachings; then there would have been less poverty, less industrial slavery, less greed and hate, less war, less disease, less self-seeking, and less of many other conditions which mar our civilization.
The Hopelessness of Materialism
Another great drawback to the practical realization of Jesus' teachings has been the mythological theory that the study and contemplation of spiritual facts, and their utilization in human experience should be relegated to a set of professional religionists. A glance back at history will show that this belief was far more universal in times past than it is today; such a theory is disappearing because it is wrong. Again, it will be seen that this belief has worked untold harm. Our world will never have ideal Christianity until every man, woman, and child in the world is making the attainment of the Mind of Christ his first and most serious business in life. The business man should understand and demonstrate the spiritual facts that Jesus taught, in the overcoming of sin, disease, poverty, hate, greed, war, and even death. Indeed, the spiritually enlightened business man is an important factor in our world of today in doing these things.
A great responsibility rests on the business man to be a practical demonstrator of Christ's teaching both for himself and for mankind. For instance, we can have manifold peace treaties in this world and yet if business men in different nations allow greed and hate and self-seeking to influence their motives, we will still have war. In like manner, if trades, whose only purpose is to debauch men, are considered to be legitimate business, because of greed and selfishness, then humanity will still have drunkenness and the drug habit, also the desolation that results from these habits, such as poverty, disease, etc. As long as mortals, because of their faith in material methods, cling to material healing systems, rather than to the healing Christ, they will still be consumed by so-called incurable diseases — diseases which are declared to be incurable, and the human mind educated to regard them as such, by the very material systems which are supposed to heal them. What a price humanity pays for its neglect of Christ and its faith in material systems!
Surely this generation is enlightened enough to see that material things in themselves can never lead to the welfare of mankind in any direction! Is it not high time that thinking men and women faced the hopelessness of the struggle to find health, happiness, and holiness in material attainments? The fact is that there is, and can be, no permanent health, holiness, happiness, or security in any material condition, because these things can only be gained and retained through spiritual processes, or through the Mind of Christ. If this is not so, then Jesus' statements which I have quoted to you are false and impracticable. The materialist who is seeking success, or health, or happiness, in material ways, must here or hereafter learn that the teachings of Jesus on these points are practical and true. In fact, he must some day learn to work on a spiritual basis if he is every to attain true success, true health, true holiness, and true happiness.
God and His Kingdom
Jesus not only told men to turn from material things, and the struggle for material things as the primary essentials, but he told them what they should strive for. This goal he described as "the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."
What is this kingdom of God for which we are all to strive primarily. It used to be supposed that the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven referred to some far-off place above the clouds. It is cause for gratitude that this superstition, like many other superstitions with regard to God, is rapidly passing away. Even a superficial study of Jesus' teachings would convince anyone that he regarded the kingdom of God as a spiritual and mental condition and not as a material place.
Christian Science teaches that the kingdom of God comes to men through a practical understanding of God and of spiritual reality. This understanding can, and should, be gained here and now. Christian Science is doing a wonderful thing for humanity: it is telling us what God is and how we can demonstrate His presence and power, His divine law, in every detail of our lives. This is in some measure the coming of the kingdom of God.
Christian Science declares that God is ever present, divine Mind, whose presence, power, and law you and I and all men can understand and demonstrate through spiritual thinking. To be intelligence, God must be Mind; also to be ever-presence, God must be Mind. Christian Science likewise teaches that God is infinite good; consequently God, because He is divine Mind and is also infinite good, must express Himself in thoughts, and in thoughts which are infinitely good. Christian Science likewise teaches that man as God's own likeness must exist as thought or idea of the divine Mind. Consequently, man must be a divinely mental or spiritual being, and must reflect the ability of the divine Mind to know or think rightly. Man, therefore, as God's own likeness, always expresses the ability to think true thoughts — thoughts which reflect God's own nature. So Christian Science is teaching men that when they think thoughts which are wholly good and wholly spiritual, they are, through such thinking, expressing and reflecting the very presence and power, the very nature of God. Moreover, this absolute, spiritual thinking will always manifest itself in human experience as improved human thinking. No one recognizes more clearly than Christian Scientists do that spiritual thinking and living must go hand in hand. The fact is that thinking which is not followed by correct action is not really based on divine Mind, God. Christian Science therefore demands the highest standard not only in thinking but also in putting such thought into practice in daily life. When a certain lawyer tempting Jesus had declared his firm faith in God, Jesus replied, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live." Therefore Christian Science is teaching men that when they think thoughts which are wholly good and wholly spiritual, they are, through such thoughts, expressing the very presence and power, the very nature of God. What then is the nature of God which we are going to reflect and express through correct spiritual thinking, or through what the Scriptures call the Mind of Christ? In her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has spoken of God as all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, all substance, intelligence, all good, omnipotent, omnipresent. When, therefore, one is able through spiritual thinking and living, or through the Mind of Christ, to manifest and reflect God's own nature, one will consequently manifest a mental condition which expresses in some degree infinite knowledge, infinite sight, infinite activity, infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite substance, infinite intelligence, infinite good; also infinite power and presence.
If there is one thing clearly taught throughout the Scriptures it is the fact that God withholdeth not any good from the spiritually minded. Christian Science is proving in some degree that the spiritually minded can, in a practical, demonstrable, and truly scientific way, understand, lay hold on, utilize, and demonstrate all which is included in the divine Mind, God. Has it not been the effort of every Christian from time immemorial to do this very thing? Today, however, Christian Science is showing us that this very process of understanding and demonstrating God's presence and power will operate in human affairs as better thinking and better living: also that it is the most normal and natural process, and the only process that leads to real attainment. Christian Science is indeed telling men that when Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you," he was enunciating practical, demonstrable, scientific teaching, which men would one day have to understand and apply.
Utilizing God's Presence and Power
For instance, Christian Science teaches that God is all-acting, and that He is therefore the source and cause of infinite activity. Is your business inactive? Then how can you have it active without a knowledge of God, the source and cause of all activity? But, says someone, how can we bring activity into a business through God? By the simple process of thinking correctly on a spiritual or divine basis, because such thinking expresses the very nature of the ever present, divine Mind, God, and such thinking will consequently operate in human thought and human affairs to produce a better sense of activity. When you bring spiritual idealism into your business you are bringing infinite activity into your business; activity which is based on God Himself and which is therefore perfect and irresistible.
In like manner, should you need wisdom in your business, God, the divine Mind, is the all-wise and includes all wisdom in Himself. Then where is wisdom to be found? Everywhere! God being ever-present divine Mind, and wisdom a characteristic of that Mind, wisdom must be everywhere. It can however only be perceived and utilized through spiritual thinking, because spiritual thought itself is the expression of the divine Mind, God. Then bring spiritual idealism into your business and in the proportion that you do so you will bring infinite wisdom, which will manifest itself in your business affairs as better judgment, more enterprise, clearer decisions, larger vision, more thrift, etc. These improved qualities of human thought will necessarily improve your business in every direction, and they are the direct outcome of your God-given ability, as the likeness of God, to manifest and reflect the nature of the divine Mind.
Are you a business man in poor health and is your business suffering because of your lack of health? Then is not your remedy the same in this case as in the case of inaction or of lack of wisdom? Harmony, or health, is the law of the divine Mind, God, and is therefore ever present and demonstrable. Through spiritual thinking you can demonstrate the infinite reality of God's law of harmony, and the unreality of its suppositional opposite, so-called disease. Then you will have more health and your health and your business will no longer suffer because of your ignorance of God.
My friends, this absolute reliance on spiritual things may seem to the materialist to be far-fetched, but in actual experience it is the most practical, the most potential, and the most scientific process. Some day every man and woman must learn that the spiritual idealism of the lowly Nazarene is the only way either in business or in any human experience.
Countless business men and women have through some understanding of Christian Science proved these things to be true. Such men and women have gained success but not only in the way that the ordinary man or woman has gained it. Along with this success they have gained more of the kingdom of God and His righteousness; in fact, their success is the outcome of a greater understanding of what constitutes the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
This process of understanding and demonstrating God's nature, His infinite presence and power, will so develop in the experience of an honest seeker, that eventually he will consider the reliance only on material ways and means to be merely a waste of time, and in fact a great mistake. He will find that such an understanding will not only operate to deliver his business from fear, doubt, hesitancy, jealousy, greed, dishonesty, and other demoralizing tendencies of the human mind, but it will bring into his business those wonderful qualities of thought — honesty, purity of motive, industry, service, gratitude, progress — which all go to make a successful business. Christian Science lays great stress on the fact that this ability to think on a spiritual basis is man's birthright because he is the son of God, that is, because he reflects the nature of divine Mind. It also proves to us that spiritual thinking is positive, and manifests itself even in human experience in better processes of human thinking and living. Moreover, as an individual gains this demonstrable knowledge of God and of divine law, he will be enabled to do a wonderful thing: that is, he will be enabled to rule out of the thought and experience of himself and others the mortal suggestions that we call sin, disease, poverty, and trouble of every kind. What we all need is to think more about God and spiritual law, more about the welfare of mankind and less of self and the interests of self. God is universal. Thought, therefore, that is occupied wholly with the welfare of one individual, or even of his own family, or of his own nation, does not express the universal nature of God and therefore does not demonstrate God's presence and power. Whatever the divine Mind knows is good, and is universal, and is available to all men. Good can never be limited. If your thinking is good it therefore cannot be limited in its success either for yourself or for others.
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has, through her teachings, made these facts practical to all men. These teachings are most clearly stated in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Some time ago I had a talk with a well-known American who is a lawyer of international reputation. I was privileged to explain to him the fundamentals of Christian Science as taught in this textbook. He listened carefully for a long time and then he remarked, "Well, if we could have the Bible and the Christian Science textbook taught and explained in the schools it would, in a short time, revolutionize human experience for the better." If business men and women will study these books constantly and use their teachings practically in business, this process will revolutionize business for the better.
I have had the privilege of lecturing in most of the large cities of the world on this subject of Christian Science. At these lectures there are frequently some of the best known business people in those cities. They are there because they have found that Mrs. Eddy's teachings are practical. Mrs. Eddy has shown mankind that the idealism of Jesus is the only way. Because of this, countless men and women all over the civilized world have learned to love and revere her. Could there be any better reason for loving and revering her? Her teachings prove that when Jesus declared "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you," he meant exactly what he said.
Perhaps one of the greatest assets Mrs. Eddy has brought to the business world is the fact that her teachings about God and about man have done so much for the advancement of women. This has enabled women to take their proper places in business as in the home life. No one can watch the progress that has been made during the last fifty years in this direction and fail to see that Christian Science has been a great factor in bringing about this progress. The entry of women into business is purifying and will continue to purify the atmosphere of business. Really big men appreciate this and are grateful for it. When Mrs. Eddy declared that God, divine Mind, is not only the Father of the universe but also the Mother, at that moment the shackles which would have bound women began to be broken. The result is that in business as in other walks of life the purifying, exalting, and loving influence of women is being more and more recognized.
As business people, you have before you the two paths. The old way says: Business is a hard game, in which hate, jealousy, strife, distrust, fear, competition, self-seeking, and human cleverness and trickery must play a large part. Christian Science says: Don't you believe it! That way leads to physical and moral disaster and is injurious to the welfare of mankind. But there is another way. Learn to know God; acquaint yourself with Him and with His Christ; learn to manifest and express God's nature through spiritual thinking and living, then you will be going the way that leads to true success, true health, true holiness, true happiness, and true progress, not only for yourself, but for all mankind.
What a wonderful world ours would be if all of us in business would really understand and practice the idealism indicated in these words (Christian Science Hymnal, p. 96):
"O Lord, I would delight in Thee,
And on Thy care depend;
To Thee in every trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend!
When all material streams are dried,
Thy fullness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied,
And glory in Thy name.
"He that has made my heaven secure,
Will here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, can I be poor?
What can I want beside?
O God, I cast my care on Thee;
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and praise Thee more."