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Putting God First

Richard Nisley


After graduating from college, I worked in a retail store for a large company. There seemed to be few prospects for advancement, so I began a job search, something I had done several times before, without success.

When I reached out to a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful help, his response changed my thinking from helplessness to hope. He reminded me that God is our real employer and the source of our supply, so I should always begin my job search by putting God first.

This helped me see that the search wasn’t really in the physical realm of brick-and-mortar buildings and fickle employers; it was actually in a spiritual universe where God’s perfect man is forever gainfully employed. Christian Science reveals that our real work is to express the qualities of God, and blessings inevitably follow. As Christ Jesus’ instructs, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

I regularly read the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and studied various Bible passages, including Psalm 91 and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I came to realize that God is all-powerful, ever-present Love, who provides abundantly for his spiritual creation, of which I am a part. Many old habits and nagging illnesses simply faded away during this time. I was so grateful for the progress I was making that I began regularly attending a local branch Church of Christ, Scientist, and eventually joined it, as well as The Mother Church.

Seeking a better understanding of God and putting Him first set me on a spiritual journey that not only led to more satisfying employment, but also to more just and harmonious business practices for my company.

One day, while attending a strategy meeting with my employer, I was asked to meet with the senior manager in his office. Though I had never imagined I had a future with this company, the senior manager offered me a promotion that included more money, a company car, and an office. On top of that, he assigned a mentor to train me. The new position coincided with a healing I’d recently experienced, of overcoming fear of public speaking. This proved particularly beneficial, as my new duties included speaking to groups of company employees on a regular basis.

I sensed God’s hand in this new appointment, and I drove home thanking Him for showing me who my true employer is.

Two years later, my company was accused of committing fraud. The accusations came from a state government regulatory agency, as well as from a local television station that had conducted a sting operation on several of our stores. The publicity was such that some in corporate headquarters believed our business would be heavily fined or possibly shut down. A new position was created to deal with the issue, and I was the one they trusted to fill it.

Rather than being intimidated by this new high-profile responsibility, I again saw this as God’s hand at work. With my better understanding of God, I could face these accusations without fear. A woman with media experience was assigned to deal with the television station, while I was given the task of dealing with the state regulatory agency. The accusations being made were that several of our outlets were recommending unnecessary work.

I prayerfully affirmed that God had never made a dishonest man. As divine Truth, God expresses integrity in all of His creation, including man. I thought about the spiritual qualities that I found in Galatians, where the Apostle Paul writes, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (5:22, 23). I prayed to see that these God-derived qualities belong to all of us.

In particular the word "love" stood out to me. Why should I be fearful of the state regulators, when everyone expresses God’s love, “against such there is no law”? This spiritual preparation silenced fear and gave me confidence to reach out to the state regulators and arrange a meeting. The state officials presented me with a multitude of alarming claims. I knew this was not a time to be defensive, or to offer lengthy explanations or excuses. Indeed, it was a time to be polite, respectful, to ask questions, and most of all to listen for God’s direction. I was reminded of these words from Second Chronicles: “The battle is not yours, but God’s.… Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (20:15, 17).

While the officials had investigated a number of our shops, they reported no evidence of systemic fraud. They did, however, point out that our salespeople did a poor job of keeping customers fully informed. The fact that the officials believed our retail organization to be essentially honest was good news to local and corporate management. On the other hand, their requirement that our company issue a correctly documented sales invoice or risk having to grant our customers a full refund came as a surprise. Local management at first balked at the idea, believing such a detailed procedure would inhibit our sales force. But I felt that what the state was recommending was in line with God’s supreme, ever truthful government and was therefore a good business practice consistent with the Golden Rule.

With this in mind, I met with our senior manager and outlined what the regulators were requiring us to do. And he agreed. He asked me to conduct a series of training sessions throughout the state on correct sales invoice procedures and documentation. Our sales force had been trained to aggressively overcome customer objections and resistance, but the new approach of openness and full disclosure changed their method from one of adversarial selling tactics to a more friendly approach of counselor selling. The result was fewer customer complaints, and increased sales.

I continued to meet quarterly with the state regulators, which resulted in a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship, so much so that a manager from our corporate office flew in for one of our meetings. Not long after that I was promoted to a new position in corporate headquarters, where I would become part of a training team that made full disclosure the basis of the company’s nationwide sales practice.

In the New Testament, Paul writes: “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men” (Romans 14:17, 18).

Looking back on my business career, I realize that making spiritual integrity and honesty the basis of my company’s approach to sales was the fulfilling of God’s purpose. I couldn’t be more grateful to Mary Baker Eddy and her discovery of Christian Science. My study of this Science not only changed my life for the better, it also enabled me to make a substantial contribution.



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