I recall the words of counsel, when I was made a Master Mason, that harmony should prevail among Masons and that the only disunity that should arise among us is “… who can best work and best agree.”
I heard those words spoken to me during my degree, but it was not until later, when I was studying the degree, that I really thought about them. When I did I managed to overlook the critical conjunction, “and”. I read this as a singular statement which, without the “and”, turned into a whole new statement in my mind, one which said: “Agree who can do the best work”.
While there may be some semblance of use to that phrase I no longer believe that is the message that is intended here. I now recognize this as two separate items, best working AND best agreeing – separate, yet inseparable to the Freemason.
By best agreeing we may, to preserve harmony, agree to disagree. Should our disagreement be known to other Freemasons and they should see our ability to focus on what we can agree upon, rather than escalate those things which we do not, they may well walk away with a lesson well learned and be able to put that effort into action in their own interactions with mankind.
But what about work? In Freemasonry, we work towards our proficiencies. We do floor work in our rituals. But is that all the work to be had in Freemasonry? Certainly not.
Work happens when you display the virtues of a Mason in your daily life, at home, at work, in public – and in the lodge.
Work happens when you discuss the principles of our institution with other Brethren and lift each other up.
Work happens when instead of making a motion to buy some trivial item for the lodge you merely buy it yourself and donate it.
Work happens when you act on the lesson of charity that we were all taught, whether that charity is displayed in a monetary contribution, or by Brotherly Love.
Work happens when you whisper council into a young Brother’s ear, because you know that a well-returned proficiency does not make a man a Mason.
Work happens when you help another brother study the lessons found in Freemasonry – whether that means reciting a proficiency, working a chair or giving a lecture.
Work happens when you tell that brother what all those lessons mean and where they came from.
Work happens when you show up to a meeting and fellowship – and in so many other ways.
Are you the best in whatever way you “work” Freemasonry? I do not know, and perhaps neither do you – but you do know if you work at all. Brother, let us put on our aprons, go to the quarry, and work together. If we can agree to do that, I am confident our work will be well received.
By Jared F. Stanley, PM
Originally Published on the What is a Mason Website.