We probably all know someone who expresses willingness perfectly. The willing are always quick to take action, accept responsibility without hesitation, and exercise initiative. It seems they understand beforehand the good that can be achieved if they are willing to go forward with the needed work. To them, the impossible is merely a great opportunity to find a solution. Isn’t it a relief to work alongside them?
As great as it is to work with willing people, I’m learning that willingness is more than just a great personality trait that some have and some don’t. It’s a spiritual quality that comes directly from divine Spirit, God. As such, God is causing each one of us to express willingness along with an infinite number of other spiritual qualities like honesty, kindness, ingenuity, understanding, health, and purity, just to name a few.
Willingness, since it is God-impelled, comes with the ability to see oneself as fully equipped by God, good itself, to work for Him in whatever way is the most beneficial for all concerned. A spiritual quality like willingness, can’t fall short or go missing because it has the all-power and ever-presence of God behind it. Because it is a product of God, we can’t underestimate the importance of willingness and what it has achieved and is achieving for humanity.
I recently ran across a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that links willingness with human progress. He said, “Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God.”
The phrase, “willing to be co-workers with God” caught my eye. I realize that we aren’t equal with God, like ordinary co-workers. But, listening to God’s guidance and being willing to act on it lines us up with His harmonious plan for us. What God is causing us to think, know, and carry out will bring the biggest blessing to us and to those around us.
When I think of those willing to listen to God and be obedient to His prompting, my thought goes back to Bible times on the shore of the Galilean sea. Jesus once told Simon Peter, his future disciple, to cast his net out for a big catch. Simon commented that he had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything, but since Jesus asked him to, he would try again. His willingness to be obedient to Jesus’ request was rewarded by a catch so large that it filled his ship and the ship of his companions, James and John Zebedee. (See Luke, chapter 5.)
It was a good lesson for those disciples, and his followers today: Willingness to see past everyday limited circumstances and get a new and unlimited view of things, brings the infinite nature of good into our experience. Mary Baker Eddy put it this way. “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 323).
This passage has taken on new meaning for me in recent months. An organization I was involved in for many years closed its doors. Like the disciples, it required us to take a new direction. It has enabled me to let go of long-held and routine views of lack and limitation. God truly has filled my net with fresh inspiration and new and unlimited ways of seeing things.
The permanence and power of the spiritual quality of willingness brings with it the consecration to listen and be better workers for God. In the words of Mrs. Eddy, “Consecration to good does not lessen man’s dependence on God, but heightens it” (Science and Health, p. 262). Willingness to see things differently has made me able to see God working in my life, community, and the world.
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!