By Working It Works

The title of our piece today has a long history. If you translate it into Latin and go back several centuries in the church’s history, it is the statement (rejected by most Protestants of the time) that, when you, say, baptize someone, that person is automatically in the family of God. People wrote and died to prove that this statement was wrong since entry into the family of God, as far as they were concerned, came from God and not the hands of human beings.

It turns out, though, that this phrase aptly fits what most of us do every day. We do not work by thinking it will get done or by intending for it to be done. We work by working. What separates most of us today is the meaning of the word, “work”. Does it have to be meaningful either in its source or in its ending? Do we, in other words, have to be working from some meaningful source or towards some meaningful end? For instance, many people have the idea that what I do—making handmade furniture—is romantic in a way. They see it connected to life in ways that office work or factory work aren’t. Often I think they see me as a kind of modern-day Geppetto (the puppet maker in Pinocchio), closed up in my little shop, skillfully fashioning beautiful things.

I don’t see it this way. My work is meaningful to me because

a)I am not doing anything wrong (I make mistakes, but don’t intend to do moral wrongs);

b)it calls the best I have from me and allows me thus to actualize myself;

c)it helps my life to go on and grow (through it I survive the effects of people and things that would end or hamper my life). I think anyone’s work can fill this bill. Work is not always fun or uplifting in the minute. It is drudgery sometimes for me to go into the shop and do this thing I say I love to do. It is how my life goes on. I may change it from time to time, but I don’t stop working. By working I work.