Labor for the Future
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
Photo Credit: luikerwaal.com
‘Somebody is sitting in the shade today because somebody planted a seed a very long time ago.’ -Les Brown
The principle tenets of Freemasonry are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. We have been hearing that since the Entered Apprentice Degree. Our need to respect and care for our fellow Masons, and, by extension, their family and friends, is inculcated in every lecture. Our duty to be Charitable to all is one of the things most non-masons know about us. And being on the Square, being an upright man, and being on the Level, are engrained in the character of every Mason.
Yet none of those things would be a part of our beloved Craft if somebody had not included them in the rituals and landmarks of our Fraternity. The Brothers, Companions, and Sir Knights who crafted, refined, and perfected the lessons of Freemasonry, and the way and manner in which they are conferred, portrayed, and transmitted, laid down a foundation for each of us to build on. Our own Degrees take that a step further. Our Degrees look past our present-day efforts to our own death and the destruction of what we are laboring to build. The Royal Degree teaches us that none of us are indispensable. Death will remove us from this transitory existence at any moment; we cannot escape that fate. But if we let those around us know that we are prepared, although not always willingly, it can be less painful.
The Select Degree goes even further. It looks past the individual, to the group as a whole. What if something should happen to our Craft, to our country, to our planet? Will there be something or somewhere that future generations could look to find the secrets to the advancements we have made? King Solomon looked into the future and saw the destruction of what was the most beautiful building in the world at that time. It had taken years to build, and many expert craftsmen labored to adorn it with precious gems and metals, and expensive woods and clothes. But he knew that a time would come when it would be gone.
Are you laboring solely to build something that looks good now, but which will disappear with your last breath? Or have you laid down a foundation for the next generation? Is there a crypt with your memories of the wonders of Freemasonry, just waiting for someone else to find and enjoy it?
Have you laid down your designs upon the Trestleboard?