I’ve often daydreamed of being a master potter. There’s something unique and romantic about shaping beautiful vessels out of formless clay. One of my favorite potters is Josiah Wedgewood. He has made some of the most beautiful pottery in the world. One of the things I love about Wedgewood is his insistence upon excellence, beauty, and sacrifice. He writes, “Beautiful forms and compositions are not made by chance, nor can they ever, in any material, be made at small expense. A composition for cheapness and not excellence of workmanship is the most frequent and certain cause of the rapid decay and entire destruction of arts and manufacturers.”
What an amazing understanding of the heart of business and how it is so intricately related to one’s values and integrity. Today, too many create solely for a profit rather than producing for the pleasure of the work itself.
John Ruskin wrote, “When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work; when they are faithfully helpful and compassionate, all their emotions are steady, deep, perpetual, and vivifying to the soul as is the natural pulse to the body.”
Walter Lippmann once said, “You don’t have to preach honesty to men with a creative purpose. Let a human being throw the energies of his soul into the making of something, and the instinct of workmanship will take care of his honesty. A genuine craftsman will not adulterate his product. The reason isn’t because duty says he shouldn’t, but because passion says he couldn’t.”
The truths that these men lived to write about reminds me of Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians: “Bondservants, obey your earthly masterswith fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free” (Ephesians 6:5-8).
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