A Shaker Proverb

shakertownJust down the road from us, near Harrodsburg, Kentucky, is America’s largest restored Shaker village. In 1805, the religious group called the ‘Shakers’ came to central Kentucky and established a village they named Pleasant Hill. The community thrived for a while, but then gradually began to decline. By 1910, Pleasant Hill had closed its doors as an active religious society. In 1961, a remarkable restoration project began at ‘Shakertown’, as it had come to be known. The private corporation that undertook this remarkable venture has made the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill one of the finest historic restorations in the nation.

Over the past half century, I have spent many wonderful hours walking through this incredible restoration, not to mention the marvelous meals I’ve enjoyed at the renowned Shaker Inn Dining Room. I have never lost my awe and admiration for this place. Its quiet avenues and stately buildings remind me of a simpler time and way of life.

The buildings in the village are an amazing testimony to the craftsmanship and ingenuity of those early builders. Their work has stood the test of time. The Shakers lived by a principle or proverb that has had an enduring impact on my life. The proverb, generally stated is this: “Build as if you will live forever; live each day like it’s your last.” The proverb has a Biblical tone. In Romans 14:8, Paul embraces this principle: For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s”.

The Apostle Paul’s word to the Colossians also embodies this Shaker proverb. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24, NKJV). Like the Shakers, we would do well if the tasks that we set our hands to each day are done to the very best of our ability.

“In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people.”
(Colossians 3:23, NCV)

~ Brother Roy


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