Thoughts on a Friday

A single white tulip

Real work, whether it involves making babies or poems, hamburger or holiness, is not self-expression, but its very opposite. Real workers, skilled workers, practice negative capability – the suppression of self so that the work can take place on its own. St. John the Baptist’s “I must decrease, but he must increase” is embedded in all good work. When we work well, our tastes, experiences, and values are held in check so that the nature of the material or the person or our God is as little adulterated or compromised by our ego as possible. The worker in the work is a self-effacing servant. If the worker shows off in his or her work, the work is ruined and becomes bad work – a projection of ego, an indulgence of self.

More (as promised) from Eugene Peterson


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