Workers and Work

In Exodus is the story of Bezaleel, of the tribe of Judah, whose name signifies, "in the shadow of God." Of this Bezaleel Moses declared that God had filled him with His spirit "in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.... And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab ... Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver ... and of the embroiderer, ... and of the weaver, even of them that do any work." And the story continues that Bezaleel and Aholiab, yea, and "every wise hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom and understanding to know how to work ... even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it," wrought for the service of the sanctuary; and so came that transcendent experience, repeated in our day, that the offering brought by the people for the tabernacle was "much more than enough for the service of the work.... So the people were restrained from bringing."

Here in the second book of the Bible is set forth the sacredness of many kinds of work now termed secular; and it is made plain that not only one or two but every "wise hearted man" is privileged to enter into this sacredness. What if in these days the embroiderer, the weaver, the goldsmith, the lapidary, the wood carver, the engraver, the carpenter, the spinner, the metal worker, each wrought as for "the service of the sanctuary"? Could there be any poor or slipshod work? Could there be any people underpaid or unemployed? "It is sad," our Leader observes on page 40 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "that the phrase divine service has come so generally to mean public worship instead of daily deeds." Says Ruskin, "Alas! unless we perform divine service in every willing act of our life, we never perform it at all." It may seem to the worker of to-day that immense business enterprises and complex business organization tend to dwarf individuality. In many cases the daily task of the worker may not seem to call out the best in him, and may seem to possess but little relationship to the higher faculties of imagination, invention, intuition. Conversely, it may be regarded by him as a means to an end; a drudgery which he is compelled to perform in order to secure the necessities of life; something to be got rid of, or got out of, as quickly as possible. Consenting to this false view, how different the status of the worker from that of Bezaleel, the patient craftsman, the Jewish artificer of the fifteenth century b.c. , who lovingly fashioned the ark of shittim wood and overlaid it with gold.

Sacrament and Baptism
July 12, 1919

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