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WHO SHALL BE LEAST?

From the November 1924 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The desire to attain greatness lies deep in the human heart; but of the way to attain it the world has generally been in ignorance. Believing greatness to be dependent upon wealth, position, or personal fame, mankind has striven for it through mistaken ways and means. In answer to those who were ambitiously seeking to become the greatest, Christ Jesus said, "He that is least among you all, the same shall be great." Surely, he who is least selfish, least willful or ambitious, he who has least of pride, anger, or self-righteousness, is great, even though least in the eyes of the world. Had one all the human greatness of Caesar, it would be as nothing compared to having the mental qualities that go to make up the kingdom of heaven within; for worldly glory is empty and fleeting, but the glory of character is satisfying and enduring. Mrs. Eddy writes in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 194), "Only those men and women gain greatness who gain themselves in a complete subordination of self." It is humility, self-mastery, wisdom, and spiritual vision that make for true greatness. Overcoming human elements, spiritualizing thought, and seeking the glory of godliness are very different from seeking popular favor or personal recognition. It is through lowly Christianity we become truly humble and enter the realm of spiritual greatness.

How seldom, however, does the world recognize the greatness of a spiritual nature! The meekest, mightiest man who ever lived said: "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" Because the Christ appears not clothed in position and prestige, we too often prefer one who presents himself through his own personality; we, too, look for the king of the Jews clothed in the royal robes of worldly rank and intellectual bearing, and see not the Christ in cradled obscurity or through the carpenter of lowly degree.

Policy, diplomacy, and prestige have to do with personality; they partake not of the lowly, unselfed spirit of pure Christianity. Personal homage with its obeisant "Thou art greater than I" is as mistaken as superiority with its condescending "I am greater than thou." In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 239) we read, "Take away wealth, fame, and social organizations, which weigh not one jot in the balance of God, and we get clearer views of Principle." It is merit of character that should determine the recognition of greatness. Out in the mud of Flanders the soldiers forgot personal ambitions and class distinctions; bankers and tradesmen, artists and farmers, served side by side as brother-men. They did not seek personal laurels there; through self-immolation they entered together into the realm of greatness.

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