Why excellence is important. 1.2.12
by Aaron K.
Why excellence is important. 1.2.12
"In nothing has the Church so lost Her hold on reality as in Her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments, and is astonished to find that, as result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world’s intelligent workers have become irreligious, or at least, uninterested in religion.
But is it astonishing? How can any one remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life? The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter 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.
Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly – but what use is all that if in the very center of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth. No piety in the worker will compensate for work that is not true to itself; for any work that is untrue to its own technique is a living lie.
Yet in Her own buildings, in Her own ecclesiastical art and music, in Her hymns and prayers, in Her sermons and in Her little books of devotion, the Church will tolerate or permit a pious intention to excuse so ugly, so pretentious, so tawdry and twaddling, so insincere and insipid, so bad as to shock and horrify any decent draftsman.
And why? Simply because She has lost all sense of the fact that the living and eternal truth is expressed in work only so far as that work is true in itself, to itself, to the standards of its own technique. She has forgotten that the secular vocation is sacred. Forgotten that a building must be good architecture before it can be a good church; that a painting must be well painted before it can be a good sacred picture; that work must be good work before it can call itself God’s work." -excerpt from Dorothy Sayers essay entitled, Why Work?
The glory of God is manifested as the excellence of the work is determined in its integrity to being true to itself and to the standards of its own technique. A beautiful building is seen as excellent as determined by expert builders and the standards of their craft. Great athletes and their quality of work are determined by their fellow peers and the standards govering their sport. Painters and musicians work is measured by its own technique, so on and so forth…each domain being governed and measured by its own. Work is not created by God as a means to discretely mask religious ends, (starting a bible study or feeling obligated to always share the gospel with coworkers) it stands fully on its own, approved by God as the designed end. The quality and integrity in the work…directly reflecting the character and glory of our Creator God. Action. My sons, this is the source of a redeemed drive to be excellent and great at whatever you do. Work will always be measured by its own technique…gaining respect and honor for God in others based on the quality of your work, irrespective of religious claims. Why?…Because God designed work to be good in and of itself. So remember always, the first and primary step in honoring God in your life, is being excellent at whatever you do. This is how you will begin to make the invisible God visible while cultivating satisfaction and blessing in life and work.