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The Ancient Paths

Where have the tradesmen gone?

The hardworking men that built this great nation, with blood, sweat and tears, minute by minute, hour by hour, brick by brick, wood plank by wood plank, with mortar, hammer and nails.

Where have the artisans gone?  Those men and women who used primitive means to handcraft works of art in furniture, pottery, clocks and jewelry.

They have been replaced by computerized technology...

Technology that allows precision recipes for mortar, and machines to mix.

Technology that pre-fabricates wood frames, and power-drives nails.

Technology that mass produces furniture, pottery, clocks and jewelry...

It's all about answering demand and fiscal responsibility; meeting production quotas with less employees on the payroll.

I wonder, do people who work in the modern day version of the trades, programming machines that actually do the work, and monitoring their output, feel the same sense of accomplishment and pride that the tradesmen and artisans felt when they handcrafted their pieces?  Is the work fulfilling or does it become monotonous?

{I realize there are still some tradespeople out there, but due to a reduction in the trades and the resulting lack of apprenticeships, tradespeople seem to be a dying breed.}

My son-in-law is a representative of that dying breed.  He just started his own home improvement business.  He has been doing masonry, carpentry and everything in between since he was 16; an apprentice early on before honing the skills to work independently.  I see the great pride he takes in his handiwork, and the happiness the finished product brings him.   It's as though the work of his hands is relaxing, not in the true sense of the word because it is certainly hard work, but in the ownership of his time, the satisfaction of the work, and the seasoned skill and wisdom he possesses.


Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16

Are we as believers a dying breed when it comes to practicing the trade of meaningful prayer, in-depth Bible study and sharing the Gospel?

An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], 
who is he who can find her?
Proverbs 31:10

Have we, as modern day Christians, forgotten the ancient paths, the good way to walk in where we find rest for our souls?

Have we forgotten to sit as apprentices under older Christ-followers who have trodden the ancient paths of tradition?

Have we allowed our personal prayer and Bible study time to become rote and mechanical?

Have we allowed ourselves to fall into the monotony of instant gratification and short attention spans?

Have we forsaken our First Love for technology and social media?


Let us return to the Good Way, continually looking with gratitude to the ancient path that our dear Savior walked in obedience to Calvary, where He willingly gave up His own life so that we could have eternal life.

You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
Deuteronomy 5:33

Let us not forsake the wisdom of the older generation, thinking it irrelevant for today.

Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?
Job 12:12

Let us intentionally seek the Lord in prayer and Bible study, mining the depths of God's Word, as Christ's tradesmen, retrieving beautiful pearls...

 The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,  who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46

And let us then become approved tradesmen of the Word, training ourselves to be diligent in the memorization of Scripture to draw upon every minute of every day, for it's direction, admonition, and wisdom, seeking to make apprentices of all those we meet along the path...

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11

Let us cast aside our dependence on technology and social media, and return to our First Love by sitting under the feet of the Greatest Tradesman as His dearly beloved masterpieces so that we can walk in His work that He planned for us long ago...

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10


A prayer for those who are feeling mechanical and rote in their prayer life and Bible time; who feel spiritually dry...

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; that you formed my inward parts before one of my days came to be, and prepared works for me to do in advance for your Kingdom.

O Lord, don't allow me to fall into complacency and monotony where my walk with You is concerned, but light a spark in me to seek you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; to look to the great Saints before me as spiritual mentors, and follow them on the ancient paths that lead to the good way where I will find rest for my soul.

In Jesus precious name,

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31

You might find me on these link-ups:
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  1. Karen - Great post and such a good reminder about our responsibility to the next generation, but also to the one that is ahead of us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts... your neighbor at #MeCoffee&Jesus

    1. Debbie, Thank you so much! And thank you for sharing in the conversation. :-)

      You are very welcome!

  2. this is such a rich and meaningful post, and you are so right how so many of the beautiful trades have been overshadowed by's such a gift to know people who still use their craftsman skills..on the other note, I find that reading the Bible is the only thing that grounds me in the ancient paths and helps life in this fast paced world slow down and have meaning, and you encourage this so beautifully in this post! Visiting from next door at #smallwonder

    1. Kathy, Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. Praising God for His help in my writing.

      I appreciate so much the comments you shared here which added wonderfully to this post. :-)


  3. This is so right-on!!! I am married to a former tradesman, had a grandpa who was a bricklayer, grew up in the time of those trades where men (mostly) could make a good living. Tying that into our lives as Christians is beautiful. WOW! You have given me a huge basket of pondering to do. Thank you, ~ linda @ Being Woven

    1. Linda,

      Thank you for you enthusiastic encouragement! :-)

      And thank you for sharing your own story of the great tradesman in your life.


  4. This is full of truth, Karen. I often wonder . . . for centuries people had busy hands but freer minds to ponder and pray. Today's technology has left of with busy minds that distract us. How I need to put down the technology, quiet my thoughts, and just pray. Thanks for this! Blessings!!

    1. Deb, Thank you for your kind words.

      I loved your insight, "for centuries people had busy hands but freer minds to ponder and pray." So very true!



  5. Hi Karen, you are so right. My hubby is one who works with his hands and gains much satisfaction from a job well done. We too should dig deeper and get right in there hands, hearts and all, into the word, into serving, into worshipping our Lord. Great post
    God bless

    1. Tracy, I appreciate so much your taking the time to share in the conversation. You have added blessing to this blog post.

      Thank you for your kind words. :-)

  6. What a great reminder that we need to return to our roots. Thanks so much for linking to Waiting on Wednesday.

    1. Jennifer, Thank you for kind words.

      You are very welcome! :-)

  7. Hi Karen, visiting again. popping over to say thank you for linking up on Winsome Wednesday :)
    God bless

    1. Tracy, You are very welcome! :-)

      Thank you for stopping by. :-)

  8. Karen, I am blessed whenever I visit your site! I love the rich analogies, one of my fav verses Jer 6:16 - seeking the Good Way, ancient paths - yet how often I am led astray, by the powerful voices of the world saying 'over here'. Thanks for the reminders!

    1. Sandra, Awe, thank you so much!

      And yet His still small voice has patience with us saying, "this is the way, walk in it". :-)

      Blessings to you fellow sojourner.

  9. Such inspiring words, what a great reminder to value trades skills and go back to simpler times. Thanks for sharing it with us on #shinebloghop this week!

    1. Maria, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. :-)

      You are very welcome!

  10. Karen, this was so beautifully written--I was just listening to a song the other day about "going back" and this post brings those words to life so powerfully. Thank you so much for your prayerful words; I was very blessed by them.

    1. Bekki, Thank you so much. Your words encourage me so much! Praising God for always helping me through the writing process.

      And also praising God for how the prayerful words the Holy Spirit inspired blessed you.

      I have much news to share. I will be emailing soon. Hope all is well and you are enjoying your first spring in the midwest. :-)

  11. Karen, I so enjoy your writing--so open, honest, and transparent! I am praying your closing prayer along with you...many blessings to you!

    1. Beth, Thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. They mean so much.

      Amen. :-)

      Blessings to you to! :-)

  12. Thought provoking metaphor, enjoyed your message. Visiting from Let Us Grow.

    1. Lisa, Thank you for your kind words.

      So glad you stopped by. :-)

  13. Another powerfully edifying post, dear friend. God is using you in amazing ways here. Keep encouraged, and know that I love and appreciate you so very much!

    1. Cheryl, Thank you so much. Praising God for His continued faithfulness as He guides me in my writing.

      I very much feel and know your encouragement, love and appreciation! You are such a blessing to me!

  14. This is a powerful post, Karen. It's easy to get sidedtracked from the nuts and bolts of our faith. Thank you for this reminder to stick to the stuff. Blessings

    1. Lyli, Thank you so much for leaving an encouraging comment.

      I like how you said we need to "stick to the stuff". Indeed we do. :-)



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