The Masonic Trowel

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book i

the scholar the builders rejected

w. bro. j. s. m. ward

"Be careful to perform your allotted task while it is yet day."

How often in life do we meet the man who says, "I am too busy earning my living to spend time in doing good or helping those less fortunate than myself, but in a few years things will be easier and even if I don't retire from business I shall have more time to devote to others." The tragedy is that that time never comes, for the more a man becomes immersed in his own personal interests the less time does he find for helping others. This, indeed, has been the burden of every teacher since the dawn of man. " Do good to-day, for tomorrow may never come."

It is so easy to put off doing the altruistic deed which our conscience tells us is required but which necessitates some self-sacrifice of time, if not of money. There is much to be said for the maxim of the boy scout, that we should not be content to lie down to rest at night unless we have at least one fresh good deed to our credit, but we should remember that not only is this a minimum qualification, but it is one intended for boys, not men. The Mason, if he is sincere, should strive to do his duty and , if that were possible, a little more than his duty, on every day which he lives.

It may be asked what is our allotted task? Until we have satisfactorily answered that question we cannot successfully perform that task. The simplest answer is to do whatever our hand findeth to do and do it with all our might, not for our own advantage, but to the glory of the G. A. O. T. U. and for the welfare of our fellow creatures. But every mason should consider that as a member of the Craft he has a special piece of work to do. He hopes to be a perfect ashlar in the Temple of the Most High, and e very ashlar in a building has an allotted place and a definite function.

Therefore, as soon as he enters the Order a man should seriously ask himself what task he can perform for the good of Freemasonry. He has stated that he has entered the Order so as to make himself more generally serviceable to his fellow men, and this being so it is clearly his duty to render service in some fashion.

In particular, what service will he give to the Order which has received him? He has a multitude of tasks from which he can make his choice. Will he study the significance of the ceremonies and as he grows older try to teach the younger brethren what they really mean? There is considerable need for a body of men in Masonry who would undertake this task. At present thousands enter the Order and no one gives them a hint as to the significance of the ceremonies or the valuable lessons they inculcate. In con sequence many of these members either drift out of Freemasonry or merely attend it for its social side. If, however, a brother has no aptitude for this line of work but says that the Social side appeals to him, this does not preclude him from rendering valuable service.

Not merely can he be a supporter of the charities, wherein he can do most useful work, both by contributing himself and by keeping alive the active interest of the whole lodge in these charities, but he can extend the social usefulness of the Lodge itself by seeing to it that every newcomer gets to know all the members. In our modern civilisation, with its speed and turmoil, men are often extremely isolated. It is no longer as easy to make friends or to get to know each other intimately as it was in the days when people were born in small towns and lived there most of their lives. In a City like London the members of a lodge often come from far distant suburbs and meet at a restaurant in town, perhaps six times in the year, and unless someone makes it his special task to bring the members into close touch with each other the new initiate is likely to remain a brother in name only, for the rest of his life.

Numerous other tasks will occur to thoughtful readers, and the real value of them depends largely on the fact that a brother has thought them out for himself. Of this we may be sure, that if each of us earnestly desires to find some task to do we shall find it without much difficulty.

Nevertheless, we ought not to be content to restrict our service to members of our own fraternity. After all, we said that we wished to render ourselves more generally serviceable to our fellowmen, and in no way can we enhance the prestige of our beloved Order more adequately than by so acting as to lead the outside world to say "He is always willing to help because he is a mason." Here, again, a fine example has been set by the Boy Scout movement.

Many of my readers must have seen a reference in the papers to the fact that some years ago an American citizen was helped by a boy scout when in difficulty. He did not even find out the name of the boy, but he discovered that the ideal of a boy scout was to do at least one good turn every day. This so impressed him that when he got back to the United States he started a boy scout movement there. Now would it not be a fine thing if we had men coming into Freemasonry because they had found masons so will ing to help that they felt it to be an institution which they would like to support and spread throughout the whole globe? This, indeed, would be performing our allotted task while it is yet day, and at the end of our earthly career we should have no need to fear the night when no man can work.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014