While dining out one evening at a restaurant in a small town, my mother noticed that the service was quite slow. A server then confided to her that they were short staffed that night. Soon after, my mom hopped out of her seat and began voluntarily aiding the restaurant staff by greeting incoming guests as a self-appointed host, carrying out beverages from the kitchen to tables, and striking up conversations with different parties in the restaurant—much to the apparent delight of the owners and remaining staff.
My mother’s graciousness was an example to me of the kind of good deeds that Mary Baker Eddy refers to in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (p. 4).
Good deeds are the natural outcome of the understanding that God is Love. When people come to others’ aid, without thought of receiving anything in return, they are expressing the attributes of divine Love, God, which include qualities such as compassion, selflessness, and kindness. Yet, what is it that separates random acts of kindness from the good deeds that are far from random, but rather, impelled by divine Love itself?
Mrs. Eddy states that “whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (Science and Health, p. 192). So, whenever we make an effort to do good deeds with unselfed love, we can be assured that we will not be alone in our endeavor, but that divine power will be back of it and guide us in our expression of love.
In Christian Science, we learn that, as Jesus showed, the Christ is seen as “divinity embracing humanity” (Science and Health, p. 561). Therefore, we might say that when turned to, God raises up witnesses here and now of His love. That is to say, divinity embraces humanity right where there is a need, and good deeds follow to meet that need.
Good deeds are the natural outcome of the understanding that God is Love.
In the Bible account about Saul, God raised up a witness in Ananias, who was led to help Saul, despite Saul’s reputation of persecuting and even killing Christians (see Acts 9:10–20). Ananias listened faithfully to God’s direction, and obeyed by caring for Saul, healing his blindness, and baptizing him—prior to (the newly renamed) Paul’s commencement of a long and distinguished career in Christian service.
If we are in need, we may not know what will come along to address the crisis. However, we can always be sure that a solution is at hand, since God’s work is already done, His creation perfectly complete. Likewise, we may find, like Ananias, that we are the ones being called to help someone else in need—whether the good deed is profoundly life changing, or modest and simple yet still brightening someone’s day.
Once, I was driving on a busy freeway in Los Angeles with a new acquaintance of mine. I was showing him around town, when I happened to notice a stranded limousine driver on the shoulder of the freeway, standing beside his limo with a flat tire. It occurred to me to stop and see if I could help. In the current era of cellphones, where it is assumed that anyone can call for help, it may be that not many people stop for one another anymore. So my new acquaintance, who didn’t know me well, looked at me as if to say, “Really? We’re stopping?” Yet I felt led to do so.
When I came up to the limo driver, he was talking on his phone, seeking help, which he relayed would not come for over an hour. I greeted the driver and told him I was happy to help change his flat tire in only a few minutes, since he had a spare. I noticed a couple in the back seat. The door was open but they didn’t get out while I changed the tire. They looked a bit worried and agitated. They did not appear to speak English and were speaking French, a language that I happened to speak. So I began speaking with them in French, apologizing for the inconvenience, and striking up a friendly conversation.
During this encounter, the limo driver stared at me with incredulity, finally stating, “What are the odds that you would stop, when no one does that these days, quickly fix my tire, and also happen to speak French such that you could calm my guests in their own language? Man, I’m lucky, thank you!” I responded that I believed God always raises up a witness of His care, and I was happy to help.
As it turned out, the couple in the back seat was headed for dinner, followed by a helicopter tour over Los Angeles. As if the driver’s comments to me hadn’t been rewarding enough, as a token of thanks he then invited me and my new acquaintance to go along. So, we enjoyed an unexpected flight at sunset, seeing the sights and the city in a way we’d never seen them before.
My new friend confided that he “was always going to stop for folks stranded on the side of the freeway from now on.” To me, this demonstrated perfectly this statement in Science and Health: “In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one, blesses all …” (p. 206).
Opportunities to help, although they can seem random, are not so. Rather, when we understand clearly that we are God’s children, the expression of God—the manifestation of Love itself—the result is that we are given opportunities to serve in a capacity to express Love, since, as
Mrs. Eddy says, “… Love is reflected in love” (Science and Health, p. 17).
I once spoke to a computer tech support specialist who works from home and told me that she simply logs in to the national dispatch center for her company when she is ready to work. Then the calls start to come in. I have often thought that prayer is much the same. As we “log in” to the knowledge of our true identity as the idea of God—as His children, expressing His attributes of mercy and goodness—then the “calls” for service to God come in to us. We are called to help, heal, and comfort others.
Blake Windal lives in Los Angeles, California.
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