“Take away wealth, fame, and social organizations, which weigh not one jot in the balance of God, and we get clearer views of Principle. Break up cliques, level wealth with honesty, let worth be judged according to wisdom, and we get better views of humanity”
Mary Baker Eddy
(Science and Health, p. 239).
- A Civil Action is the true story of how a materialistic personal injury lawyer pursues a noble yet unwieldly case, at the cost of all the materialistic benefits that he had spent his entire career in creating for himself. A lawyer named Jan Schlichtmann (as portrayed by Travolta), really did pursue this case against two large corporations, Beatrice and W.R. Grace (both named in the movie), involving industrial pollution, contaminated drinking water, and the deaths of innocent children in New England, circa 1981.
Don’t be afraid to sacrifice
From the July 21, 1986 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
If you are reading this periodical, you’re probably seeking a better understanding of God. To know God, even to begin to understand Him, is the greatest blessing any of us can have. Yet we read in the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy: “A great sacrifice of material things must precede this advanced spiritual understanding.”1
Mortal mind, the false, limited sense of life in matter, never wants to sacrifice any of its materiality. It defines good in material terms and then clings ferociously to its material sense of good—to all the material things and pleasures it likes and wants. Yet each material sacrifice, made for the good of others or for the sake of Principle, takes us a step forward in spiritual growth. We find new blessings coming to us directly from God to replace in better ways what we thought we had given up. For each sacrifice of the material sense of good that we make, we are richly recompensed with a higher good—good that is spiritual, that comes from God and yet is manifested in humanly tangible ways that meet our present needs. In this way our trust in God is strengthened. Step by step we gain a higher concept of sacrifice, and eventually we see that all we have really been sacrificing is various aspects of the false belief that good is material and limited.
The “great sacrifice of material things,” which we all need to make eventually, probably begins for most of us with small sacrifices. Through them we learn not to be afraid to sacrifice. For example, perhaps a friend or co-worker asks us to give up precious time from our own concerns to help him with a problem. Or perhaps a family member in need asks for financial help we think we can ill afford. Perhaps we must consider sacrificing a relationship that we desperately want but know in our heart is not in everyone’s best interest. Or perhaps a long-cherished goal or plan suddenly needs to be rethought or even abandoned.
When we are faced with the demand for a sacrifice, large or small, what we’re really faced with is the demand to recognize the infinitude of good. We’re being asked to recognize that our heavenly Father has infinite means to bless our lives, endless possibilities for even better scenarios than the one that the human mind has its heart set on. That’s why we need never fear to sacrifice, because each time we do sacrifice, even in small instances, we discover more of the joy of trusting God and see more of the infinite, ever-present, spiritual nature of good. This spiritual good then enters into our lives as blessings, tangible and intangible, welcome as rain upon a dry earth, causing our lives to bud and blossom and grow toward God.