Christian Science: The Business Man's Aid and Comfort
John W. Doorly, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The value of Christian Science to business men and women, as to all humanity, cannot be overestimated. Indeed, it is safe to say that in business, as in every other detail of human experience, the knowledge of God and God's law, which Christian Science brings to one, is invaluable. Webster describes business as "that which busies or engages time, attention or labor, as a principal serious concern or interest." Surely it is evident that something which is "a principal concern or interest" in one's experience cannot be outside the range of God's law. If it were, then the greater part of our experience would be something apart from God and from God's law.
It is certain that if our business is of God, then it must be good. If our business is something that is not of God, then it is not necessary to our human experience. Jesus indicated that business had everything to do with his relation to God and with God's law, when he asked "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49). Jesus, in fact, had no compunction in speaking about his ministry as the Father's "business." It became evident, therefore, that the word business cannot be properly confined to mere money making. What then is this activity which we call business, and at which the ordinary individual spends the greater part of his life? Surely it is not merely the effort, as was once said of the man who dug in the ditch, "to get a little money, to buy a little bread, to get a little strength, to come back and dig in the ditch again"?
Christian Science teaches that business occupies a large part of our experience because business is the human sense of a great spiritual and metaphysical fact. This fact is that all of God's creations reflect good to one another, and one essential to one another. If this fact alone were understood by humanity it would tend to eliminate jealousy, greed, dishonesty and many other demoralizing and destructive tendencies from business. In past years we have witnessed the spectacle of nations who were trying to build up their businesses, and perhaps as great business ventures as the world has ever known, on a selfish basis of self-interest.
The end of these ventures was always chaos and disaster of the worst kind, not only for the particular nations engaged therein, but for all the nations of the earth. Is it not equally certain that the individual who tries to build up his business on a similar basis of self-interest will inevitably bring trouble to himself and to his associates in business?
Business as Understood in Christian Science
Christian Science declares that the only true business a man can ever be engaged in is to know and to do the will of God, whether he be in his office, in his home, at his games, at any time or under any circumstances. Christian Science further declares that, in such business, a man will always have the most desirable and the most potential assistance that any business man can have, for he will have the assistance of God. If God's will does not govern in a particular business, then that business is of no good to humanity, but is simply a self-centered barnacle, impeding the ship of humanity's well-being.
If a man is going to let his business be governed by God, he naturally wants to know something about God. It is unfortunately true that most of the attempts to make God known to men, and the superstitious shifts to which human thought has been put to explain God, have caused many business men and women to consider God as something quite apart from practical business. In fact the ordinary business man or woman, having been educated into a fantastic and impractical sense of God, naturally concludes that such a being is of very little value in business.
We should remember, however, that a materialized sense of God is not really God at all, but is only a false sense of God, and being a false sense is of very little value to anyone. It is evident then, that if business, to be real business, must be of God, and if it is essential therefore that God should be the controlling factor in every business, then it is absolutely necessary for a business man to know what God is and what God does.
Christian Science makes it perfectly plain to its followers that though a man should build up what seemed to be the largest and most successful business yet, if he has not based that business on the truth about God and man, he has only built up trouble and disaster for himself and others. In fact, Christian Science teaches that "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." (Psalms 127:1)
The Motive in Business
Most men would gladly admit that they worked hard in their businesses and strove to make a success of business because they desired to gain for themselves or for their families those things which seem to make human existence pleasant; also because they wanted to be in a position to protect themselves and their families from poverty, from disease, and from many human vicissitudes.
The question may be pertinently asked, however, whether a successful material business, or the proceeds from it, can deliver from any of these things. In my own experience, I have, many times, seen a business man, who believed that the accumulation of money would deliver him or his family from such troubles, in a strait where his money was absolutely no good to him at all, but where a little of the Mind of Christ would have meant everything to him. I have seen business men, or some members of their families, overwhelmed by a so-called incurable disease, and I have seen them expend lavishly the proceeds of their business in the attempt to get this diseased condition healed, but without avail. Then I have seen them turn to Christian Science and seek help from God, instead of from their money or from the material means which their money could purchase. In many cases I have seen them get this aid from Christian Science. Sometimes their thought was so far removed from God that the healing was slow, and sometimes because of their ignorance of spiritual things and their inability to grasp spiritual facts, the healing did not take place at all.
In one or two cases I have seen such men bitterly repent of their short sightedness which had made them believe that money making was the end all, and be all, of existence. In like manner I have seen business men or some members of their families delivered by Christian Science from drunkenness, from the drug habit, and from other forms of degeneracy into which their very success in business and their accumulation of money may have brought them.
It is a well known fact that many business men and their families have degenerated rather than improved through the merely financial success of their businesses. Evidently then the purpose of a good business is not primarily to make money. It will be found that the right purpose of all human activities, including business, is to increase our knowledge of God, and to enable us to prove this knowledge in human experience by the overcoming of sin, of disease, of poverty, of trouble of every kind, and eventually of death. Every thinking man will admit that this is better business than just mere money making.
God's Nature and Availability
Let us consider then what God is and what God does for us in our business and in all our human affairs. Christian Science teaches that God is divine Mind. It further declares that the divine Mind is the only Mind. Now, Mind is that which knows. All true knowing must therefore be in and of the divine Mind, God, and must be expressed or reflected by man in true thinking. Does not everyone need true thinking in his business? Does not everyone therefore need the divine Mind, God, the source and cause of such thinking to direct his thinking in business? Christian Science also teaches that God or Mind is infinite intelligence.
Well, is there any business that could get along successfully without intelligence? It is safe to say that there is nothing which contributes so much to the success of true business as intelligence. Surely then, as God is infinite intelligence, we need God in all our business affairs. If men would only lose the superstitious belief that God is some far-off, indefinite and unavailable being, who operates according to merciless material laws, and if they would begin to understand God as the one, infinite, ever-present, divine Mind or intelligence who is ever available to his creation through right thoughts or through spiritual thinking, then mankind would indeed begin to lay hold on God, on the divine Mind, through correct thinking.
This correct thinking, or this laying hold on God, would deliver from evil of every kind. Business is just one part of the human experience, and Christian Science declares that whatever is good for business and whatever is helpful in business, is also good and helpful in every other phase of human experience. It further declares that nothing is good and nothing is helpful but that which emanates from the one divine Mind, God. In fact Christian Science is proving to mankind that nothing is worth while, and consequently that nothing is good business, but the ability to understand God, the divine Mind, aright, and then to make this understanding practical in every detail of our lives, including our business experiences.
The effort of all responsible men and women should certainly be to obtain in the right way that which will deliver them, and enable them to deliver others, from evil of every kind. Christian Science declares that nothing can ever deliver from evil of any kind, but God, — divine Mind, or infinite intelligence, who manifests Himself in human experience through the spiritual thoughts and desires of men and women.
Results of Knowing God
Close reasoning will convince anyone that when Jesus spoke of his Father's business, he was speaking of the business in which everyone must be engaged inevitably, and that is in overcoming evil with good. In fact, the business of every mortal is to come out of his mortal thinking in which fear and limitation, sin and disease play so large a part, and to find his life "hid with Christ in God," or to awaken mentally to his true being as man in God's image. This man is never sick and never sinful, never poor and never limited. How then is one to do this? Christian Science declares that the only way to accomplish such a result is to understand, and to utilize in our lives, the all-presence and all-power of divine Mind, God. As divine Mind, God, is the source of all good, it must be true that all substance, all intelligence, all right decisions, all health, holiness and happiness, forever exist in the divine Mind and can only be found there.
Jesus knew that substance was not something that one kept in a bank. His understanding of the fact that true substance is in and of God, and can only be demonstrated through spiritual thinking, enabled him to find money in the fish's mouth, and to feed the multitude in the desert. Christian Science declares emphatically that what Jesus accomplished was not supernatural but was divinely natural. If we understood God and God's law, we would use the methods of Christ Jesus, and we would not use impractical mortal methods which bring to humanity havoc and chaos. Then, let the business man learn that God is divine Mind and that through spiritual thinking, or through consecrated thinking and living, he can prove that the divine Mind, God, governs his business.
That business man will soon find that when great problems confront him he will not rely on mortal, limited, finite, so-called intelligence for a solution of these problems, but he will seek to gain a fuller understanding of, and a closer acquaintance with, the divine Mind, God, and he will thus gain more of that right mental condition which expresses true intelligence, true direction, and true substance. It is possible for every man to think spiritually and to utilize his understanding of the divine Mind, God, so that his thinking is governed entirely by God.
One of the differences between the ordinary man and Christ Jesus lies in the fact that the ordinary man believes that there is more than one Mind and that he has a mind of his own, quite apart from the divine Mind, God. Christ Jesus on the other hand, recognized but one God, one Mind; and that all right mental activity is but a reflection of this Mind. He therefore demonstrated the activity and the operation of this one divine Mind is everything. The ordinary mortal has yet to learn that the understanding of the divine Mind, God, and an acquaintance with this Mind, will bring him out of evil of every kind, including sin, disease, lack, disaster, and even death.
Disturbing Factors in Business
Everyone recognizes that what we call business is limited and crippled by fear, by doubt, by dishonesty, by jealousy among nations, and by distrust among individuals, and most of all by selfishness. Our prominent statesmen and business men are forever declaring that these are the things which impede business, but they do not tell us how to get rid of these things. Ordinary material methods offer no remedy for these ills, because such methods frequently produce them. Christian Science declares that the remedy is in the operation of the divine Mind, God, through the consecrated thinking and living of individual business men and women.
As business people learn that Mind is Love, and that the understanding of divine Love casts out fear, doubt, jealousy, distrust and selfishness, we will soon have better business conditions. Moreover, Christian Science declares that even though, according to human sense, business may be bad all over the world because of these mental errors, yet if we will reflect the divine Mind, God, in our businesses, because of this spiritual thinking, our businesses will not suffer from these conditions.
The business man who begins to recognize God, divine Mind, in his business, and who finds that his business responds to the action of the divine Mind as manifested through spiritual thinking, will recognize also that this remedy is available for his diseases and his sins. Soon he will find that God is not only with him in business, but that God alone heals his diseases and redeems him from his sins. The joy that came to him when he was able to meet and to overcome problems in his business, because he understood that God is Mind, and that Mind or God always expresses Himself through spiritual thinking, will be magnified a thousandfold when he finds that the divine Mind will also operate through his spiritual thinking to heal him of disease, or to heal some of this loved ones, and to deliver them from sin.
In the experience of every honest Christian Scientist there comes a time when he rejoices more over the disappearance of sin from his experience than of any other trouble. This is because he realizes that sin is always wrong thinking, and that disease and business troubles are but the result of wrong thinking in some form. This mortal universe is a mortal thought universe, and expresses the thoughts of mortals. The remedy for all mortal conditions then, is in spiritual thinking, or in having the Mind of Christ. The problem of every individual is to gain the kingdom of God, and that means to gain the Mind of Christ or the ability to think spiritually, so that mortal exigencies, either as sin, as disease, as poverty, or as death, can no longer influence his thinking or his experience. What we think is all important, because God is divine Mind.
Our thinking, if it reflects God, divine Mind, is consequently with power; and it is with power to overcome the so-called carnal mind in every phase of its illusion, mortality. The kingdom of God is not something to be attained hereafter, but it starts here and now through the mentality of an individual who begins to understand God aright. Through spiritual understanding, or through correct thinking and living, this individual's sins, his diseases, and troubles of every kind begin immediately to disappear. In some measure, therefore, it may be said of such an individual that in his growth Spiritward he is following Jesus' command, "and as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:7,8)
Attaining True Manhood in Christian Science
Some of the best Christian Science practitioners I have known were some of the best business men I have known. These men sometimes came to Christian Science at first for help in their businesses, but they soon found that the divine Mind was not only available for guiding, protecting and developing their businesses, but that it was also available for steering their bodies and the bodies of other people into health and out of sickness. They also found that Mind was available, and infinitely available for the purpose of removing sin from their mentalities, and of enabling them to remove sin from the mentalities of others.
Let the ordinary business man who thinks he is in business for the purpose of making money, remember Christ Jesus' word of warning: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:23) All business men therefore should consider carefully which is the better way in business. On the one hand we have the world's way which usually means to work it out through your own human capacities, and to let your aim be the building up of a great material concern, or the attainment of more or less money.
Remember that in this process many men and women lose their grasp on God, on health, on holiness, and on all that is worth having. On the other hand Christian Science says to us "do not be, merely, a business man, but be a man in a business; be a man in your home, be a man at all times and under all circumstances, and above all do not be satisfied to be a mortal man, but ever strive to be man in God's likeness." Since God is divine Mind, man in God's likeness must be spiritually mental, that is, he must be a right state of consciousness.
Therefore as we are putting off the carnal mind with its fear and ignorance, with its love of money, and with its myriad illusions, we are at the same time putting on the Mind of Christ, with its health giving influence, its redeeming influence, and its satisfying influence. Can anyone doubt for a moment which is the better kind of business?
Effects of Christian Science in Business
Christian Science is not a way to get rich, but Christian Science does deliver from poverty in the same way that it delivers from evil of every kind. The way in which Christian Science always delivers us is through God, divine Mind, operating in our experiences through spiritual thinking and living. To the business man therefore Christian Science says: "Acquaint now thyself with Him and be at peace." (Job 22:21) It also promises that as a result of this acquaintance with God, his fears and his worries, his mistakes and his lack, will be less manifest.
On the other hand his health and his happiness, his joy and his holiness, his confidence and his good judgment will become more manifest. Mrs. Eddy has written: "The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity. The human mind, imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose. A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity." (Science and Health, Page 128:4-18)
Mary Baker Eddy and Business
I intimated to you at the beginning of this lecture that Christ Jesus was a business man, and I want to say to you now that he was the truest business man who ever lived. In fact had it not been for Christ Jesus what we know as civilization and therefore what we know today as good business would not have been possible. I would go farther and say to you that Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, was the truest business woman who ever lived, because she perceived, as Jesus did, that business, to be business, must always be the Father's business. It is only necessary to remember how many business men who were permanently out of business or would shortly have been so, because of disease, of drink, of worry, of strain or from numerous causes, are today back in business as the result of Mrs. Eddy's teachings.
This alone would establish her as a great friend of business and as a great business woman. More than this, however — Mrs. Eddy not only discovered Christian Science, which is completely revolutionizing human thought and experience, but she founded a Church for the protection and advancement of her discovery, and she founded this Church in a way and on a basis that has caused many business men and women to admit that she was a great organizer and a wonderful business woman. Mrs. Eddy never claimed any personal merit for these things. She claimed that her acquaintance with God, with divine Mind, enabled her to do these things.
Mary Baker Eddy, in teaching men to know God as divine Mind, not a far off indefinite abstraction, but infinitely available to every one of us through spiritual thinking, accomplished something that is destined not only to make business more Godlike, but something which is destined to sweep away sin, disease, poverty, worry, fear and death itself from human experience. It is also destined to draw individuals and nations into that closer bond of unity where every man shall seek not only his own but also another's good. Nothing is more needed today among business men than a desire and a determination to work, not only for oneself but for the common good.
Mary Baker Eddy has kindled anew, both the desire and the determination to accomplish these things, by revealing to us the divine, demonstrable fact, that when we forget ourselves enough to work for others as well as for ourselves, we are reaping for ourselves blessings beyond our wildest dreams, for by this right mental attitude we are learning to work with God, "workers together with Him" as St. Paul declares. Every thinking man knows that what we need in business is that great stabilizing and controlling factor, Truth and Love. Mrs. Eddy has shown us how to lay hold on God, on Truth and Love, through spiritual thinking. Because of this she is the age's truest business woman as well as its greatest reformer.
In conclusion let me recommend to every business man and woman as his or her incentive in business the sentiment expressed in the following lines, and I will promise you that the adoption of the motive indicated in these lines will in some measure bring to you and to yours, more health, more holiness, more happiness and more freedom from all that is unlike God, than ever seemed possible under the old systems.
"Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel his brother's care.
Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love."
(Christian Science Hymnal, p. 56)