Sunday, September 6, 2009

Making Good Tables

In church this morning, the sermon was based upon Luke 19:14-27, the parable of the nobleman who is made king of a distant country, and he gives money to 10 servants to invest while he’s away. What he gave each was a mina, the equivalent of three months wages. One servant has earned 10 minas with the original one; he gets 10 cities to rule. The next earns five from the original one, and he gets five cities. A third kept the mina hidden in a piece of cloth, because he knew the king was a hard man. His mina gets taken away and given to the main who earned 10.

The sermon was about the value of work, but it could just have easily been about working for someone you don’t like, someone who “takes out what he didn’t put in, and reaps what he didn’t sow.” The third servant, the king points out, could have at least put the money on deposit and earned some interest. While that is an interesting discussion for another day, I want to focus on what the pastor said about work: that it’s a trust we are given, a calling we are to respond to, and a destiny we inherit.

Think about that. Work is a trust, a calling and a destiny. And it’s not that only for those with advanced college degrees, but actually for everyone: "Both the preacher and the plumber can work to the glory of God.”

The pastor quoted the writer Dorothy Sayers and what she said about work. Actually, to call Dorothy Sayers a writer is an understatement. She was a writer, a playwright, a theologian, a translator of Dante from the original Italian, a mystery writer (the Lord Peter Wimsey novels), a noted speaker and a lot of other things. She was a contemporary of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, and I suspect she could have more than held up her end of the conversation with them or anyone else.

In an address entitled “Why Work?” delivered at Eastbourne on April 23, 1942, she said this: A man must be able to serve God in his work, and the work itself must be accepted and respected as the medium of divine creation. “The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter,” she said, “is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.”

In other words, work is a vocation, and a sacred one.


shrinkthecamel said...

Work as destiny - Wow that's a new one, and gives me plenty to think about.

Yes, three cheers for Dorothy Sayers. I need to read more of her stuff.

Great post!

Claire said...

work is the masterpiece of a life...amen.

thank you for stopping by.