Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Work and Worth for All ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Work and Worth for All ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Recent newspaper articles have reported that the two-year downturn in the US economy has resulted in the highest jobless rate in 30 years. However, this burden is not carried equally, as blacks are bearing the brunt of it. The New York Times reported that for African-Americans, the jobless rate is nearly twice that of whites (July 12).

This problem reminded me of the lyrics of a song from 20 years ago, "Work for All," by the South African mixed-race pop-music group, Juluka. One verse and chorus, sung in both Zulu and English, laments: "Papa sits alone in the kitchen, Thirty years a mining man. He still has to fight for the right to work, Whether times are good or bad ... Sifun'umsebenzi - wo thina sifun'umsebenzi, We need work for all, Sifun'umsebenzi - work for all - we need to work to be."

I was always struck by the plaintive, "We need to work to be." How often we identify with our jobs, saying, "I am a businessman," or "I am a housewife," when we really are so much more than that. We have important relationships with our families and friends; we engage in meaningful volunteer activities, we may have an affiliation in the way we worship.

We need jobs to pay the rent, put food on the table, and make a better life for our children. It's vital to our sense of worth to be productive toward our family, our community, and our world.

But self-worth has to involve more than a simple equation of us with our job. When we can't find work, it doesn't mean we become nobodies, worthless and lost.

It's helpful to go back to the Bible, specifically to the first chapter of Genesis, where God saw His creation - which includes every one of us - "and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). I love having this as the basis of my identity - one of God's very good creations. This has nothing to do with my job, my education, or my skin color, and everything to do with my status as the image and likeness of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, commented on this spiritual creation in her major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where she wrote, "In God's creation ideas became productive, obedient to Mind" (pg. …

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