February 25, 2015
The original title for this Wednesday’s readings was “Defeating Discouragement,” and I was struggling with my understanding of the readings I had selected from II Corinthians 11 and 12. These are the verses about Paul’s many hardships, yet he would “glory. . in mine infirmities” because when “I am weak, than am I strong.” On Monday, I started hearing the buzz about the Oscar winning song “Glory,” so I watched it on youtube. (No, I did not watch the Oscars!) That song really touched me in understanding some of Paul’s emotions when he wrote those verses in II Corinthians, and that is how I came up with the topic “Defeating Discouragement with GLORY!”
I also wanted to share an instructive little fable which appears frequently in our Christian Science magazines and which is attributed to William R. Rathvon, a Christian Science teacher and lecturer who had also been a member of Mary Baker Eddy’s household staff. It is called the ”Devil’s Auction,” and in this fable, the devil was selling his tools, such as malice, envy, hatred, jealousy, sensualism, deceit, and all the other implements of evil. Separate from the rest lay a harmless-looking, wedge-shaped tool which was much worn and priced higher than any of the others. When someone asked the devil what it was, he said, “That’s discouragement.” Discouragement is more useful to me than any of my other tools because I can pry open and get inside a man’s thought with it, when I can’t touch him in any other way. It is so worn because I use it with nearly everybody, as very few people yet know that it belongs to me.” The devil was then asked, “Is there anyone on whom you can’t use it?” The devil hesitated a long time, and finally said in a low voice, “I can’t use it in getting into a grateful heart.” At the sale, the devil’s price for discouragement was so high that it was never sold. The fable concludes that he still owns it, and he is still using it!