No 1045, District 25, Under The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & ACT Australia [Views herein does not necessarily reflect those of LJR 1045 & UGL NSW & ACT.]

Monday, February 8, 2010

All Work Is Worthy

[Presented By: R.W. Bro. Douglas Franklin, Past DDGM, Ottawa District 1]

I feel privileged to be brought up believing that all work is worthy. From the most humble tasks to massive, earth-changing feats, all work should be valued. I can appreciate a spotless public washroom, and the attitude of those who take their cleaning work seriously. Like you, I can also appreciate well-crafted entertainment. I can even admire a well-written contract.

On becoming a Mason, I became impressed by the teamwork in a Lodge. Dozens of jobs to do, and dozens of Brethren to tell the Secretary how to do them!

We speak about a Lodge at work. Our Work—the ritual and rubrics—is still at the very heart of our Craft. We soon recognize that a successful Lodge engages many of its Brethren in degree work, through the regular progression of officers in the chairs, through members’ nights, step-up nights, and Past Masters’ nights. It is a plain truth in the life of a Lodge that the more the work is spread, the stronger the Lodge will be. A Lodge can certainly get by if every Brother taking part in a degree knows his work. But, a Lodge will flourish if Brethren learn more than is expected of them. For instance, all Master Masons should learn and deliver ritual work.

Sharing in Lodge work also means putting on festive boards and entertainment, convening special events and ladies nights, as well as fundraising. Some of the Brethren, who are not inclined to do degree work, shine in other areas. We should respect them for this, and thank them for their efforts. How often do we actually take a moment, and tell them we appreciate their work? We have heard it said, over and over, that anything you may feel disposed to give will be thankfully received and faithfully applied. My Brethren, I believe that this also applies when a Mason gives something perhaps even more precious today than his money—his time and efforts. Whatever it is, whether arranging a gala evening or auditing the Lodge books, requires particular skills and dedication.

How often do we say to a Brother, after an excellent delivery of ritual, “Good work!” or “Well done!”? Surely we can also express our thanks for a good meal, or say to a Brother who has given his best for his Lodge, “I appreciate what you are doing.” It only takes a moment, but it will be remembered for a long time.

I would like to share with you a true story of Masonic work—both humble and great at the same time.

I once visited a lodge in another jurisdiction, and noticed that a Past Grand Master was sitting as Junior Steward. Surely, I thought to myself, he’s just filling in for the evening. Wrong. I looked at the summons and saw that the Most Worshipful Brother was indeed Junior Steward. “Oh”, I said to myself, “A really high-class recycling job.” Wrong again. Our Junior Steward did his degree floor work and delivered his ritual part with grace and aplomb.

At the close of Lodge, I wanted to introduce myself to the Junior Steward and compliment him on his work, but I was cut short, as he told me he had to be at the festive board that was about to start. The esteemed Brother would no doubt be at the head table. How wrong could I be! With his Senior Steward and other Brethren, he helped to serve the meal. “They must be short of help,” I said to myself. There he was, with a coffee pot in his hand, greeting his Brethren and serving them, with a smile.

Following the Junior Warden’s Toast, I finally had an opportunity to chat with the Most Worshipful Brother. His positive outlook and self-effacing sincerity were most refreshing. Yes, he agreed to serve as Junior Steward for a year, not because his Lodge had to recycle Past Grand Masters, but because his Brother, the one appointed to be in this office, was serving his country, in the Royal Canadian Navy, on duty in the Middle East. “I am also doing this,” he quietly told me, “to value his work. He is putting his life on the line as my Brother, the least I can do is a reasonable job for him in Lodge.”

Forever, I will carry this with me as a living Masonic example of my belief that, “All work is worthy.”

*Reprinted from The Newsletter of the Committee on Masonic Education, Vol 19 No 4.

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