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You don’t need to earn it, plead or beg for it!
Lesson Application Ideas on “Mind” for Aug. 16 – 22, 2004
by Kate Mullane Oyer, CS (St. Louis, MO)

Golden Text:
Know it, use it, expect good.
I love thinking that God giveth to a man (woman or child) that is good in His sight (and does He, God, know one that isn’t good is His sight?) wisdom, and knowledge, and joy:

God giveth it…we don’t have to earn it, or beg for it, or plead with God…He giveth it to one and all unconditionally.  Wisdom is defined by Noah Webster in his dictionary as:  The right use of knowledge.  Knowledge, which we must have to exercise wisdom is defined in the same dictionary as: a clear and certain perception of truth and fact.  And joy is defined by Webster as: the emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good.   So, when we know the truth and use it in the right way we can expect good.  What a way to start this week.

Responsive Reading: 
Where should we go for directions and answers?
King Nebuchadnezzar was eager to know what his dream meant and he demanded that all the wise men in his kingdom try to tell him about his dream was or he would kill them. But the king refuses to tell them even one detail about what he dreamed.  The  magicians and wise men tell the King that no man on earth can do what he has asked.  Daniel intercedes because he doesn’t want to see anyone hurt.  He asks his friends, the same friends who refused the King’s meat in the previous chapter and who later will be thrown into the fiery furnace and not burned (the Hebrew name for Shadrach is Hannaniah, for Meshach is Mishael and for Abednego is Azariah) to pray with him for an answer from God that will not only appease the King’s desire for the meaning of his dream, but will show the King that there is only one place one should go for answers and that is to the one God.  Daniel is given an answer from God that satisfies the King and not only are all the other men saved, but Daniel is “made a great man and given many great gifts and made ruler over the whole province of Babylon and he also asks the King to appoint his three friends to great positions which the King does.

Section One:  
Where do I go to find out who I am?
This section leads with the first four of the Ten Commandments.  A friend once shared with me something has changed the way I will look at the Ten Commandments forever.  She said that a friend had suggested that rather than think of the commandments as restrictions or rules that man is being told to do…or else…that the Ten Commandments are really just God’s description of man.  Almost as if God were lovingly telling each of us that we weren’t even made capable of doing anything so unlike our spiritual character and nature.  As if God were tenderly telling us, “You are so good that you won’t even be tempted to have any other gods but Me, the one who loves you so much and is always there to care for you.  You are so sure of my abundant provision for your every need that you won’t ever even be tempted to take something that is someone else’s….”

This is how our Father-Mother God describes each of us…to us…and to each other.

Once, almost twenty years ago, a preschool age Sunday School student shared his inspiration with me about the third commandment.  He said, that since God said that His name is, “I AM, that means that anytime you say,  or even think, I am sick or I am angry or I am too tired to help my mom, you are taking God’s name in vain.”  Let’s be so sure this week that we are honoring God by the way we use His name “I AM…”

Section Two: 
Where do I go for what I need each day?
Well, here they are again, Daniel and his three friends.  This story actually comes before the dream.  It is the first time we meet up with the four friends in the Bible.  They are Jewish boys who have been taken captive by the King and are chosen to be trained for serving the King personally.  But the King wants his servants to be healthy so he provides food for them to eat.  But the food that the King is supplying is not religiously appropriate for Jewish people to eat and the boys ask that they be allowed to eat only “pulse” which was a type of pod with seeds inside, and water for ten days as an experiment.  Although he was afraid of what would happen if the King found out, the person who was in charge of the young boys training agreed and at the end of the ten days….well, you know the rest of this story…not only were they “fairer and fatter in flesh”, but their fidelity to their highest sense of what was right brought gifts of knowledge and wisdom and understanding….now that’s a meal…no, that’s a feast!!!

Mrs. Eddy’s statement, The one Ego, the one Mind or Spirit God, is infinite individuality, which supplies all form and comeliness”  To think that our supply of all things good, including comeliness (balance, symmetry, proportionate, fitness) comes from infinite (limitless) individuality (un-dividedness from God).  Whenever we seem to feel that we have a need, we have only to draw closer to God.  Be undivided from Him in every way.  Again, we don’t have to beg, or plead or earn it….it’s ours by reflection.

Section Three:  
Where should I give credit for all the good that happens in my life?
Finally we get to hear what the King himself is thinking about all this.  Remember this is a guy who was capturing Hebrew boys, boys who came from a race of people who believed in one God, and turning them into slaves.  But by now he’s had some profound experiences with these four young men.  So when he dreams another dream that leaves him feeling frightened and none of his wise guys can interpret it,  he calls for Daniel again.  This time the interpretation that God reveals to Daniel is one that is disturbing to Daniel and he doesn’t know how to tell the King that some really challenging times are headed his way.  But the King tells Daniel not to be afraid of what his God is telling him.  So Daniel tells him that he’s going to lose his greatness if he doesn’t give all the glory to God.  But the King doesn’t change his ways and still thinks that everything that has been accomplished or achieved or accumulated in his kingdom is the result of his own greatness.  Then God takes it all away and sends him into the wilderness to live like an animal until he is ready to humbly give all the credit for good to the one God.  And when he does this his kingdom is restored to him. 

I love the statement from Science and Health that is found in this section on page 294, “Man is neither self-made nor made by mortals.  God created man.”  This is what our friend Nebuchadnezzar had to learn.  Even in His day people forgot that they could do nothing without God (as Mind) to give them ideas that resulted in blessings not just for themselves but for the universal good.  God lovingly reminded the King that not only was he not the creator of his own good, but since, as he learned, he was not the creator, neither could he be a destroyer.  Even walking around like a beast in the forest couldn’t destroy his kingdom, the respect of his counselors and wisemen, or his right to think and act rightly and worship God.

Section Four:  
Where do I go find the origin and cause of my potential, my capabilities?
Poor King Belshazzar.  He had been given the example of his predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar and hadn’t taken heed.   Rather than calling on God and his servant, Daniel, first to have the “writing on the wall” (and this is where that saying comes from) interpreted, he calls on the same old “wise men” who can’t tell him a thing.  So then he calls on Daniel who sees that the writing is telling him that his failure to learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s lesson of forgoing pride for humility in giving credit to God is going to cost him everything…and that a new King would soon reign.  The writing on the wall, “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” is interpreted as “numbered, weighed and divided”.  Quite the opposite standpoint from “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance”….undivided, unfragmented, only one portion…All-in-all!  When we live out from God as the source and condition of our experience our lives are FULL of goodness, full of opportunity, full of grace…un-numbered, un-weighable, and undivided from Him and all He is.

So…if God is giving us all this good unconditionally..what do we need to do?  I love what Mrs. Eddy says, at the end of this section, “Human theories are helpless to make man harmonious and immortal, since he is so already, according to Christian Science.  Our only need is to know this and reduce to practice the real man’s divine Principle, Love.”  Nothing in this sentence about earning it, begging or pleading for it!”

Section Five:
Where does my mind end and God as Mind begin?
If Jesus thought that the man’s son had a separate diseased or disturbed mind of his own that could teareth and foameth and gnasheth, a mind separate from God that he, Jesus, would have to reason with and convince of his goodness, the healing would have been dependent on how receptive and willing the boy (and his own mind) was to Jesus’ words and to his healing work.  But Jesus KNEW that there is, was, and ever and only will be only one Mind.  Period.  He had to know that what was seeming to foam and gnash and tear away at the boy was nothing more than suggestion to everyone that was watching, including the boy.  That the boy was right then and there…in his right Mind…and so was his father and everyone else.  Jesus lifted the boy up above the false views of who the boy was and in doing so revealed his true nature (and theirs) to everyone present.  Jesus had to know, as Mrs. Eddy suggests in citation number 21, “We can have but one Mind, if that one is infinite.”

Section Six:  
When will I have this Mind that is God?
This lesson is all about the spiritual maturity of children…and aren’t we all children….there is nowhere in the Bible or in Mrs. Eddy’s writings where there is a reference to the adults of God.

The Hebrew boys, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were boys who, by their example, changed the heart of a king, were untouched by fire, and fed by Mind.  The boy who was healed by Jesus arose from the false sense of mind in matter to his true nature as peace-filled and blessed.  God is training up each of us, as children, in the way we should go.  To love and trust and lean on Him as the only source of our goodness, our thinking and the guidance for our actions.  He has GIVEN us the spirit (the consciousness) of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Not of power, of love and of a sound (entire, unbroken, not shaky, split or defective) mind of our own that is vulnerable to suggestion and peer pressure and emotions, but a power, love and mind that has God as it’s source and condition…always!  He defines it, maintains its integrity and manifests its form in our lives.  We don’t have to earn it.  It is our provision from a loving, all-powerful, devoted Father-Mother.   We just need to honor it as the only “I AM” that we always and only are…ever have been and ever will be!!!  

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