Making Tables

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We can’t all be at our best all the time.

I wish we could. But sometimes, we drag a little, let our focus sag a little, and we forget for a moment that everything we do in our lives is, in a way, a reflection of and an offering to God.

I was dragging a bit last night, as I headed off to another movie. I was feeling sickish and tired and I wasn’t much in the mood to sit for two hours. I had a little time before the movie began, so I read a bit out of a book I’ve been cruising through lately: Letters to a Diminished Church by Dorothy Sayers. She spoke at length about how work well done is a form of praise—of worship, even—and that Christians should always take their work seriously. Sayers writes:

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. … 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.

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Sayers, writing during World War II, goes on to point an accusatory finger at the Christian Church for putting up with bad workmanship in its art, music, sermons and devotional books—and pretty reflective of what Barbara Nicolosi has said before. “When you want to put a sacred or transcendent message in a movie—let’s say one that’s going to mention God or the life of the soul—I think it has to be so beautifully done that people will feel that you’re sharing something that’s beautiful, not something that’s trying to get them to do something,” she told Plugged In‘s Adam Holz earlier this year.

I get that. But for me, the exhortation last night was a little more straightforward: Quit yer sniffly bellyaching and do your job to the best of your ability, ’cause if you do anything less, you’re not honoring God.

A good reminder, I think. And now, if you don’t mind, I think I’m going to blow my nose.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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