The Potter’s Apprenticeship, Part 1
Often I hear men complain that they don’t like their jobs. Some complain that they work hard but aren’t recognized for their contribution, while others complain that the only good thing about work will be the day they retire. If this is you, you’ll want to take this “Lamplighter Moment” to heart.
From the book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, I learned about an accomplished potter named Ange who was about to serve a six-month apprenticeship with a world-renowned Japanese potter. To Ange, this was a dream come true. In her imagination she visualized herself throwing the clay on the wheel, under the wise guidance of the aged craftsman, and basking in well-deserved affirmation as he witnessed her skill.
But the opportunity never came. Ange was never asked to demonstrate her ability. You see, Ange did not understand the tradition of the Japanese apprentice, known as uchi deshi. Typically, an uchi deshi was a teenager adopted into the master’s home. There he participated in every aspect of family life, including housework. He was influenced by the master’s character, particularly his work ethic. He learned that life and work cannot be separated. The apprentice looked forward to the day when, after years of meticulous care and attention to detail, he would be given his first opportunity to throw the clay on the wheel.
Ange believed that in light of her advanced skills, a short tutorial with the master would be sufficient. And so it is with many today. We desire success but want to forego the necessary steps required to become true masters. We want to start at the top. In Proverbs 24:27 we read, “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” To be successful, we must labor diligently in preparation. To advance we must do more than is required. But we must be patient and continue to humbly learn from others. And we must approach each job we’re given-no matter how menial-as if it was the most important job in the world.
Lastly, we must, as Ange did, learn the lesson of the “preparation tree.” Once you learn this lesson, your work and your life will never be the same. Find out more in the next Lamplighter Moment!