Our dear world needs problem solvers - individuals with a willingness not just to wait for the good and right things to happen, but to make them happen. Individuals with a commitment to mercy and a vivid respect for compassion. Individuals with a certain sense of fearless listening to even unconventional and surprising solutions. In short, individuals who take God seriously and work with the infinite wealth of ideas presented by Mind to its ever-present realm every moment of our lives.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in her book „Unity of Good“ on page 9: "The talent and genius of the centuries have wrongly reckoned. They have not based upon revelation their arguments and conclusions as to the source and resources of being,— its combinations, phenomena, and outcome,—but have built instead upon the sand of human reason. They have not accepted the simple teaching and life of Jesus as the only true solution of the perplexing problem of human existence."
Everyone who accepts "the simple teaching and life of Jesus as the only true solution" is a problem solver. Solution finding is based on the metaphysical fact that there is only one Mind, that Mind is All-in-all. Solutions are mental, they are the effect of the spiritual ideas which emanate from God. A problem solver uses these spiritual ideas and stands with both feet firmly on the higher law, relying on the infinite number of ideas present right where we are. A problem solver can know that all the resources of Mind are always active and operative in bringing forth unexpected solutions and maintain what is good and real.
A shepherd is a problem solver
One way the Bible describes the activity of the Christ in human experience is the role of the shepherd. Is a shepherd a problem solver? Problem solvers and shepherds have a lot in common. They involve alertness, the willingness for individual responsibility (if the shepherd fails, what then?) and willingness to serve others, they involve qualities like creative thinking, commitment and constant watchfulness.
Christ Jesus saw the need for guidance and clarity for the people, and he knew that those who followed him into a commitment to unselfishness and honesty will eventually have an impact on the lives of others, too – that is, become problem solvers and healers in their own right. So, the purpose of Jesus’ mission was not just taking care of the sheep and teaching his own students, but training future shepherds.
One wonderful moment of shepherding and problem solving is the description that God leads us beside the “still waters” (see Psalm 23). It is only the stillness that enables us to hear God. It is also only the quietness of the waters that helps the sheep drink. Because sheep are afraid of running water (sheep cannot swim very well) he makes sure that the sheep have the quiet, still waters. If there is only a running water, he creates “still waters” by gathering up stones and diverting some of the fast moving water into a small pool for the sheep to drink. Problem solved.
Three ways to support problem solving
So where are they, the shepherds of our time – the modern day problem-solvers? We can support the emergence of problem solvers in three different ways.
First, we have the divine right to accept that there is always a solution. A shepherd has no choice but to make sure that all the sheep are safe. A problem solver is someone who does not settle for an “unsolvable problem”. That does not exist in the infinite realm of Mind. A material perspective tends to define problems in a way which makes them unsolvable and it overlooks the authenticity of being which is expressed in Good, God. The Cause, the beginning of everything worthwhile, substantial, good, and healthy is God. The solution is where God is. We can start differently by building on good itself. By admitting that there are God-given solutions at hand, God-possibilities right here and opportunities, surprising solutions and contingencies before untapped right at our fingertips.
Second, we must accept that being a constructive force for good in our world takes commitment and diligence. This is an important mental step away from the sadness that accompanies a closeup view of the unsurmountable mass of issues humanity is facing. The time spent with worry or naming all the reasons why things don’t get better is better spent with commitment to good. In Psalm we read: "My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word." (Psalm 119:28 NKJV)
Third, we can make it a habit in supporting good motives, honest efforts wherever we are. This is a great inspiration when we are called to pray for the world. It has been such a helpful insight to know that all good motives are always on the same side. They have their root in divine Love and therefore cannot be at odds with each other. Principle, God, is balancing with magnificent precision and provides equity in relationships, be they individual or diplomatic in regard to countries. In this wise we will feel that there is a higher power, a God which confirms integrity and honesty in everyone involved in problem-solving. All good motives are always on the same side.
A demonstration of the Christ law of problem solving
While working at a large university it became progressively clear that the whole institution was characterized by drastic flaws in the way the university was governed. By-laws and rules were undermined by nepotism, transparency clouded by backroom decisions, the inclusiveness infiltrated by cliques. It was hard to see colleagues desperate and many students distracted and not getting the full attention their advancement rightfully deserved.
With all the commitment, I could muster I made the effort to see the kingdom of heaven right there, where I was working. I didn’t enter the building of my university without thinking somewhat on those lines: “This is the kingdom of heaven. I am ready to see how God is working out his reign today.”
The kingdom of heaven proved to be a brilliant resource: In prayer I could finally see the allness of God prevail right where a struggling institution seemed to be. Right where the influence of personal egos undermined the usefulness of the different aspects of good governance, God, Truth, was actually upholding the integrity of all the members of the university. Instead of agreeing with the exclusion of a broken consensus within my university I started to honor Mind, God, as the source of goodness.
Working with these ideas day after day helped me to make a meaningful contribution and pinpoint the areas where I had to grow in order to become a problem solver myself.
This effort went on for even more months. Many individuals were engaged and stepped up with moral courage. But it was all worthwhile the effort and actually much less of a burden than simply dragging around the image of a failing institution. I myself had to be ready to accept a position, too, something that took courage on my part. Eventually the old order was overthrown. The bankruptcy was averted, and a sense of inclusiveness installed.
I found that working diligently with Mind's ideas and persisting that the victory is always on the side of good, was so much easier than carrying around the heavy burden of worry. My mental state became light and joyful in focusing on problem-solving instead of focusing on problems. It makes all the difference to see that God, Spirit, is the mighty force behind problem-solving, as Christ Jesus is teaching us.
Our daughter Anna-Zoë brought to our attention a new, creative series on Christ Jesus, developed and filmed with a multi-religious crew. This Bible based series tries to access Jesus through the eyes of those individuals who knew him and imagines biographies. This series gives an individual answer to the question why people were willing to leave their lives behind, follow Christ Jesus – and become healers and problem-solvers so willingly and movingly. My husband and I enjoy watching this series together with Anna-Zoë, talking about it and we have been inspired to think in a fresh way about familiar Bible stories. For example, that Christ Jesus' ministry is a ministry of problem solving.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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