Jack of all trades or master of one?

Posted by: Stephen Lowry - Posted on:

It is very tempting, in a world driven by cost-benefit, to buy the skills of the least expensive tradesperson to get a job done, than to pay the craftsperson to do the job well. The phrase “you get what you pay for” is usually an afterthought when the task is botched. 

I was struck this morning by a comment of Solomon recorded in the Bible in 1 Kings 5:6 

I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians. 

No-one can cut timber as well as your people.

It seems that Hiram from Tyre and Sidon was the man to get when it came to sourcing wood for buildings, and no better building than a temple to Almighty God! Solomon gave Hiram a call, and set an arrangement in place. Solomon believed in the best, and financial considerations took second place. The bible is full of stories of tradespeople being employed and honoured for their skills. 

So if we want a new window frame or a new door employ a joiner, if we want a car’s brakes repaired, go to a brakes specialist, and so on. 

There is of course a danger - and I am constantly amazed at this - that we reckon the person who is the most expensive to employ, must also be the best. I heard lately of the charge a window blind specialist was going to charge for a window blind (of course). The quote was the amount I would have expected to pay to replace the frame and glass, and supply the blinds! But because this firm had a good reputation… .

There is an attraction when a service provider says: “Come to us and we will handle everything!” Is there a danger that the provider, of whatever range of services, is actually a jack of all trades but master of none? 

In a world where people offer a range of services which pretend to bring inner healing, self-acceptance, paths to reconciliation, a salvation of sorts, are we wise to entertain their promises? Jacks of all trades, but not the Master, not the One. Not the Lord Jesus?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *