By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)
'The secret of getting ahead is getting started.'
One public service announcement I keep seeing shows the legs of a variety of people, each taking one step forward. The ad's message is to take that first step towards getting involved. Masonry has preached that all along!
Where were you first made a Mason? We have always searched out those we believe have within them the makings of a good man. We try to look past the outer mask of showy clothing, fast cars, and loud talk to see the potential for good inside a man. Just as a Master Mason removes the outer shell of rock to reveal the beautiful piece of work hidden inside a plain piece of stone, so we use our Working Tools to reveal the better man within the Rough Ashlar that is an uneducated human.
Zabud took the extra step that night, though it almost cost him his life. He was already on the path of Light. He had already passed through several stages of accomplishment and training. He was a skilled Master Workman. He had advanced from an Entered Apprentice, a bearer of burdens, through Fellowcraft, Master, and Marked Master, to become a Royal Master.
And yet he knew that there was more for him to learn. He had advanced to the highest level of skill the Craft could offer, and he had King Solomon himself as a friend and guide. But there was something else going on inside, hidden from most people. He looked inside, past the door, and was rewarded for taking that extra step.
Do you remember when you were in darkness as regards the secrets of Freemasonry? Do you remember those you helped you to learn, to lift the veil of allegory, to read the symbols? Honor them by teaching the next Zabud. You may not know who he is. You can never tell if the next Companion to walk through the door of the Secret Vault will be an Adoniram or a Zabud or, sadly, an Ahishar.
But if you give him the benefit of your years of learning, the learning that others gave you, he may become a Super Excellent Master. Your journey for more Light began with a single step: so did his. Each step brought you further along the path. Now you can help others.
If you're not sure what to say, always remember the first instruction you received on your journey:
Advance one step with your left foot.