Sunday, August 08, 2010

Laying Bricks or Building Cathedrals: Which are you doing at work?

One of my favorite parables is that of the brick layer and the cathedral builder. Its a popular tale told in many places. In summary, it relates the tale of man who when walking past a construction site asked the builders what they were doing. One said, he was laying bricks, a second said he was feeding his family and a third said he was building a cathedral to the glory of God.

What is poignant about this story is the different attitudes that each builder brought to the same task. This difference in attitude is one we see everyday, and which we hopefully check on and struggle with regularly. In our work, we all are laying bricks (of sorts) but do we only see our work as laying bricks, or only as providing for our families, or do we see it as something larger which is achieving an important end for the glory of God and the good of the society? If not, we should search and embrace that deeper meaning and purpose that is available in any work if we search it out and embrace it.

On my toughest and most frustrating days at work, I find that reconnecting to the cathedrals I am building, restores and encourages me to recuperate and recommit. I further find that as I am now firmly in the second half of my life, and everyday reminds me of my inevitable end, it is all the more critical that I spend my life energy on cathedrals and not brick walls. To this end, I inventory my activities frequently and seek to shed those which are only brick walls (to me) so that I can put more of my energy into those cathedrals I want to leave the world with.

May we all take time today, and frequently in the future, to identify the cathedrals we are building in our work, and to avoid those endeavors that are only brick walls.

Blessed building. :-)


Ramiro Roman said...

Thanks for the inspiration Craig, good reminder at the end of a tough day!

Keep building cathedrals!

Anonymous said...

At my brother's funeral, the Lutheran minister read a poem of several stanzas, each of which began with "I will build my cathedral ..." Over the years I have made efforts to find a copy of the poem, to no avail. If anyone can help me find it, I would be very grateful. His wife has since died and his children were too young when he died to remember. Thank you.