Christian Science: As Applied to Business
Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Christian Science: As Applied to Business" was the subject of the lecture given Tuesday noon at Keith's Theatre by Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B. of Chicago, Ill., under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist. Judge Greene is a member of The Board of Directors of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. Mrs. Lura W. Broadbridge introduced the speaker whose lecture follows in full:
I have sometimes been asked, "Why should you invite business men and women to a lecture on Christian Science? What has business to do with religion, or what has religion to do with business?" The inquiry I shall now answer. Perhaps most of the business world will agree that there is something wrong with business. If this be true, then business needs something. It may be the leaven of Truth that is needed to make business what it should be. It is common knowledge that we have not been inclined, to think of business in connection with God, or in connection with religion; but it is never too late to mend our ways.
We are agreed in a general way that God is All-in-all, and as we think of business - of human activities - it would be a curious situation if that which occupies about one-third of all our time, and perhaps one-half of our waking hours, had no concern with that which we say is All-in-all. It may be, when the world awakens to more serious thinking about God and about business, it will recognize that that which occupies so much of our time and thought needs to be regulated, and to be transacted, more in harmony with the right thought of God and His allness.
We have not been generally accustomed to think of some of the great religious characters of the world as exemplars of successful business ideals; but when we call the roll of the strongest men of the ages and consider what they have been able to do, through their understanding of God and their reliance upon Him, we shall see that they rank as the great business men of the world.
Moses, the religious leader of four or five thousand years ago, was able to lead a people out of slavery, able to equip, govern, clothe, feed and lead them through the years - not by material means, nor by buying their freedom, nor by fighting with armed men, but through his understanding of God and his absolute reliance thereon.
When we think of the millions of treasure and the thousands of lives sacrificed in our own country in a struggle for the freedom of a people, it is an interesting thing to remember that a nation centuries before had been freed through reliance on God, thus proving that it is safe to trust God in the conduct of human affairs.
We are accustomed to think of many men today as strong business men, and yet I am thinking now of a simple man of God in the long ago, named Elisha, and the unique piece of diplomacy that he accomplished through his reliance on God. During some period of his public ministry, there was war between Israel and Syria, and Israel was invaded by the Syrian army. Try as they might, however, the Syrians were not able to capture the king of Israel; for, as often as they came to a spot where he was reported to be, they would find him gone. On being informed that it was the prophet Elisha who was giving news to his king concerning the movement of the Syrians, they promptly sent a large force to surround the city of Dothan and take the prophet captive.
In the morning when he looked out, the young man who attended the prophet, seeing this armed force, was afraid and cried, "Alas, my master! how shall we do?" Elisha's answer was, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Then the record says that the prophet prayed that the young man's eyes should be opened so that he might be able to see and to understand the source of all power; and the young man beheld the mountain "full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha," - betokening that he understood that his defense was in God and the hosts of God's power.
The further record is that the prophet led the Syrian army prisoners to his king and when the king said, "Shall I smite them?" he answered, "Feed them and send them back to their masters." So they fed the army and sent them back to their own country. The significant conclusion of the story is that the armed bands came no more into Israel.
Has there ever been a more interesting or natural consummation of war than this? A peace founded upon confidence, kindness, and love is enduring. May the modern statesmen hasten the day when the nations of the world can have such a peace!
A study of the New Testament reveals the greatest business man the world ever has known - Jesus of Nazareth. Where is there a man today who can, in the desert place, having to the evidence of the senses only a few loaves and fishes, feed abundantly thousands of men, women, and children? During the late war we considered one of our citizens a great business man because he was able to marshal food ships and food trains and feed the starving hosts of Belgium and France; yet here was one of two thousand years ago who could feed the multitudes around him. Find, if you can, the weather man of today take even the humblest means and who can stand in the face of the storm and say, "Peace, be still," and there shall ensue a great calm. Or find the man who can go to the thousands of earth that are in sickness, suffering, sorrow, and speak to them, and their burdens are lifted. Yet these are the things that were incidents in the life of this matchless man of whom the author of the Christian Science textbook says, "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe" (Science and Health, p. 313).
As we think of these instances of solving business problems, some of us who are concerned with large enterprises - feeding the world as flour merchants, as fruit men, as grocery men, as railroad men, or ministering to men as bankers or in some humbler way - will perhaps pay a little more heed to the value of business being conducted in accord with God's law, and the understanding of what God is, and of what is man's right relation to God.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, at a certain period of her life found conditions unsatisfactory. She was ill; there was a sense of lack in her life; she was lonely and filled with sorrow, and desired help, relief, freedom. The doctors had told her that she could never be well, and she turned to God's Word that she might find the way to improve her life. As she studied the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the wonderful things he did, she saw, in his words and in his words and in his work, that the power was not possessed within himself of overriding material law, but that he relied upon God to bring to pass the perfect results that were accomplished. Is not this what the world needs today?
As Mrs. Eddy grasped this in Jesus' teachings, his positive promise that to all who believed, would be manifest the same power with which to do all the things that he did, she instantly, with great faith, sought to lay hold on this power of God exemplified in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Even with this faint understanding she found God, and as a result, freedom, health, peace, gladness, joy. Realizing that what had come to her was not supernatural but, as she expresses it (Science and Health, p. 591), "divinely natural," she was possessed of the thought that she must go out and give this to the world. She made a comprehensive study of the Bible for a period of years that she might find more of this truth, that she might lay hold upon the evidences of God's power being made manifest through the ages. As she read the record she saw how these great men of earth, trusting God, were able not only to lift themselves, but others also, out of bondage and servitude to false material laws and beliefs. From the background of this Old Testament history, she began to study the life of Jesus with new hope that he, with his spiritual understanding of God and God's power, was the one through whom the world was, and is, to find salvation - not only salvation from sin, but salvation from every ill to which human flesh is said to be heir. She saw that this law of God - of good, as she called it - duly understood and applied, would lift man out of bondage to every wrong belief.
As she discerned this truth and saw the abundant promise of healing, she invited the world to come and be healed of physical ills.
As one saying, "I am suffering with indigestion," also told her his story of some business problem over which he was worried, she saw that his real difficulty was not with his stomach, not with the food he was eating, but with his thoughts. Another case was that of a woman suffering from a belief of disease and her story was of worry over some member of her family. Mrs. Eddy saw that this woman's disease was not a condition of flesh, but of mind. She saw that it was all mental, and that the great need is to bring men into harmony with the one Mind - the divine Mind.
Later, in her further study and understanding, she wrote, as one of the tenets of Christian Science, "And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure" (Science and Health, p. 497). What a standard to hold before the businessman of today! How our business problems would melt into nothingness if we could but place our business efforts upon this high plane! So, whether it is the healing of one's bodily complaint, or of the discord in one's home or church or school or community, or whether it is the healing of this problem of commercial life today, all may be solved by our being brought into harmony with the divine Mind - with God.
As Mrs. Eddy taught, and thereby lifted people out of their false beliefs about poisons, and showed them that the only poison was in human belief, they were healed. They then went out and brought others, until great numbers came, and she saw always, as they were ready to accept the truth and to rely upon God, that there came healing; and so was verified the Master's promise, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; . . . lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Mrs. Eddy began teaching Christian Science by simply re-presenting to the world this great gospel of goodness, this gospel or news about God, that Jesus had given to the world two thousand years before; and with the acceptance of that truth men were healed, and thus was proved the divine authority of the teaching of Christian Science.
She wrote the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," that all who would, might come to an understanding of God - that understanding of God which when applied in our lives will lift us out of bondage to all these false laws and false beliefs that have bound and are binding the world today. Mrs. Eddy saw that through the teachings of Christian Science must come to the world this understanding of God which brings the solution of all our problems.
Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." And he had been talking about food, clothes, houses - the very things that we are reaching out for in our business. The man in business says, "It is not that I want to be rich; it is just that I want to make my family comfortable." That is right. Jesus said, "All these things shall be added unto you" when ye seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. But when you put that to the businessman in practice, how many are found to be really seeking the kingdom of God? How many of us go to our daily tasks with our thoughts filled with prayer that we may today, in all that we do and think and say, seek first to give place to the kingdom of God, feeling absolutely assured that, as a result of this, all these things will be added to us? Jesus said, "This is life eternal." He did not delay; his statement was, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent."
What the world needs for the solution of all its problems is the knowledge of God. Christian Science teaches that God is Love, Life, Truth, Soul, Mind, Spirit, Principle. Perhaps the term "Principle," more than any other, when understood, will bring to us that sense of the allness of God which we need if we are to apply this understanding in solving our everyday problems. In this connection, I remember always that a little foreign woman came after a lecture in New York city one night and said, "Please tell me how your God can be everywhere at the same time." Thinking over her question in the years that have followed, I have come to think of it as one of the most important things for all of us to know; for, if you in your business, and others everywhere, could understand how God can be and is everywhere present at the same time, would not that solve our problems?
You now believe that God is all power. You do not need to be told that this is true. You cannot think of the universe or any of the wonders of creation without ascribing all power to God. Whether you believe in the God you have heard about, or not, is another matter. Whether you believe in the God that you have found in reading the Bible, is quite another matter. But you do believe in this infinite intelligence that is back of your ideas of creation. Then this infinite power, if present with all the millions of earth, will solve all problems.
I have sometimes observed, in the practice of law, a man who, when the commercial clouds are hanging low, when he was not certain of his future, if he could only be assured by his banker that his credit was good, would come to his business with his face all aglow with joy and satisfaction, because he felt that he had real backing. Suppose each one in his work or his business could understand that he has the backing of omnipotent power, then each face would always shine with gladness and confidence. The great apostle, Paul, recognized this when he said, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God."
To understand the ever-presence of God - the ever-presence of this omnipotent power - will solve our problems. Take, for example, the principle of mathematics, with which all of us are familiar; and take one of the expressions of this principle, such as multiplication; and I ask you, "How can multiplication be everywhere present in the world at the same time?" You instantly answer, "It is present with you and with all the world at the same time, under one condition; that you understand the law of numbers and can apply it; and any man who does not understand it and cannot apply it, is not conscious of it."
In a much more wonderful way, all the qualities of God - omnipotent power, infinite intelligence, divine Love, eternal Life - understood to be divine Principle - are ever present to solve every human problem; and must not Jesus have stood at this eminence of thought when he said, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you"?
If we believe in God, let us rely absolutely upon God that we may have all power "over all the power of the enemy."
One might ask, "How can I apply that in my business, or in the healing of physical ills, or in overcoming the discord in my home?" There is one way that you cannot apply it, and that is by begging God to change this or that or some other condition. The great difficulty with the world has been in begging God to change everything, and the one thing that needs change is the false sense of God and self. If we will look within and find the thing that needs to be changed there, it will mean bringing ourselves into harmony with the operation of infinite power. It will be getting self out of the way and letting God reign in all our thoughts. "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also."
Let us get rid of hatred, resentment, dishonesty, selfishness, sensuality, and materiality, and all of the things that are not right, that are not of God, and let us make a way for God's love and God's power to flow freely through us. Thus we may be able to rise and to help others to rise above material slavery, the bondage to wrong thinking and to wrong conditions in our physical lives, our business lives, and our home lives.
As Mrs. Eddy says in our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 1), "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."
Prayer, or treatment, in Christian Science, is not asking God to change aught that He made, but it is changing our thoughts and bringing them into right relations with God, where the power of God, unending and unfailing, does change and does bring to pass the naturalness of God's goodness, the naturalness of harmony, peace, dominion, abundance; for so is the promise of the inspired writer: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
When we find God's way by getting rid of the things that are unlike God, we shall find the way to life, harmony, peace, and abundance, the way even of freedom as pointed out by the Master. An unselfed love Mrs. Eddy gives as one of the essentials of prayer, which is the same thought brought out by Jesus when he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive;" or, as brought out in that wonderful pronouncement of the Lord's Prayer when he says, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." In other words, all the promises of God are to be fulfilled when we fulfill the conditions relating thereto.
The great difficulty in the world has been its materiality. We have stood afar off with a concept of God as a great superman sitting on a throne somewhere, and we have cried out and begged God for health, joy, forgiveness, and abundance. Yet how little we have done towards bringing ourselves to God. God is ever present. Jesus said, The kingdom of God, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, is within you; that is, it is ready for your acceptance today - here, now. It is a state of consciousness and not some far-off domain where you will sometime find yourself. The solution for all your problems is in the present knowledge and understanding of God - the lifting of our lives to where this power is operative, bringing that peace which is the fulfillment of God's promise.
How can we prove this true in business? How can we prove it in our everyday activities? For we are all in business. The woman who runs the household is in business and just as great and essential a business as the merchant or the banker, or the ranchman or the railroad man. How shall we demonstrate in our business an unselfed love? The very phrase implies what is to be done; we are to get self out of the way. Jesus said that we should love the Lord our God with all our soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourself. How many of us are fulfilling that obligation? That means demonstrating unselfed love; it means that we should begin to find opportunities, in all of our activities, to forget self and to give to the world. Did not the prophet express it when he said, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts."
Let us begin to express this thought of giving in our lives, and it will take away the hardness, the harshness, and the selfishness, that characterize too much of our business. This is the way one practitioner dealt with it after a fashion that is interesting: A man came to him and said that he could not get his breath. "Well," he said, "that is your trouble, you are always trying to get something; if your breath were coming easily and naturally you would probably be just as concerned with getting something else, maybe some orders for your business. If orders were coming easily and abundantly, you would be striving to get something else, getting pleasure or excitement or enjoyment, rarely considering how you could give anything. Go back to your work and learn how to give in your business, and you may not have so much trouble getting." The man did learn how to give in his business, was quickly healed, and his business prospered. Each of us can learn the same lesson. The Christian Science textbook says (p. 123), "Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas."
Whether you are a housekeeper serving meals, making the home comfortable, or whether you are making or selling some article of merchandise, or whatever your work may be, try to resolve material things into thoughts and replace the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas.
Consider, for example, the automobile business. Resolving an automobile into thought, one would find power, liberty, freedom, dominion, love, and unselfishness. Bearing these thoughts in mind, the manufacturer, the laborer, or the salesman would be led so to conduct himself in making or selling an automobile as to certainly bless all mankind.
So with you and me in our businesses; instead of thinking about how much of any article we are going to produce, sell, or deliver, or what we will have on the table for a meal, let us begin to resolve things into thoughts and see that our business, our work in the world, is to give love, joy, beauty, hope, uplift, spiritual value. If salesmen, when business is dull, in-" stead of wondering if each customer is going to buy, would see in each prospective customer an opportunity to bless and help, an opportunity to give something in thought, he would be doing something worth while. If you do not sell anything, never be mad or discouraged; but give to your customers hope, joy, uplift, gladness, happiness.
Let us quit thinking or talking about lack in the world. God's world is here, and God fills it with good. It does not make any difference what men may say about the law of supply and demand, nor what they may say about money being too high or too low, there never was a time more than now when the world needed all the good it can get; and you and I in our several ways, in a strictly legitimate business manner, can give to the world what it needs in love, hope, joy, gladness, and abundance. We can destroy and root out all of this belief of lack, fear, doubt, uncertainty in business and in the home.
Let us begin by helping men to know and to understand that God is ever present, therefore there is nothing to fear; that divine Love is governing the world, and man, in the image and likeness of God, is reflecting Love. There is no room in the world for hatred, dishonesty, or fear. We can know that we are prosecuting God's business, and that is the only business there is in the world. We need to carry into the world this understanding that God's law rules and governs and guides us in all we do and think and say; and as we bring our lives into harmony with this right understanding of God, seeking "first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," and applying this in our lives, we shall find the solution of our business problems; and that means bringing health, strength, joy, gladness, and abundance, to every man.
Mrs. Eddy expresses this hope when she says, in one of her books (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 232), “The right way wins the right of way, even the way of Truth and Love whereby all our debts are paid, mankind blessed, and God glorified.”