While directing the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Christopher Wren, the English architect, visited the building site. Stopping to talk to one of the laborers he asked, “What do you do?” Not realizing that he was talking to the great architect, the man, who was a cement mixer, answered “Sir, can’t you see? I’m building a great cathedral.” -Who Switched the Price Tags? By Anthony Campolo
How many times do we get caught up in the mundane tasks in our lives, in our work, not seeing the importance of our role – the BIG picture? Whether you are a business executive or a teacher or a stay at home mom, we all do it! As a stay at home homeschooling mom, I am often in the deep end of the mundane: diapers, feedings, cleaning, food prep, break up fights, teach, train, clean up some more, discipline, naps (yes!!!), more diapers, more food prep for their bottomless stomachs, baths, laundry, endless amounts of more cleaning. And maybe your life looks nothing like mine (and maybe you’re thanking God for that right now), but the truth of the matter is that everyone struggles with this in their own way. I think that’s why I love the story of the cement mixer: his answer is so refreshing because he wasn’t merely focused on his immediate job. He got the big picture and didn’t see his job as any less important than the architect. He was fulfilled because he saw that he was a part of something great! Others might see the architect’s job as the truly important one, and it is important, but how stable would a cathedral built with improperly mixed cement be? And he got it.
How important a job or task is cannot be tied to the amount of money we make for it, but sadly, in our society, it is and it leads us to feeling undervalued and unfulfilled. Teachers, Emergency personnel, military, stay at home moms/dads, etc – all fairly essential, but compared to the inflated salaries we see in other nonessential professions (entertainment, sports -yep, sorry!, etc) they are grossly underpaid. We cannot find fulfillment in the amount of money we are paid. At best, it is fickle, inconsistent, fleeting. No, our true fulfillment comes when we begin to see our work, whether you’re changing diapers or doing whatever it is nuclear physicists do, from the BIG picture perspective. To realize that, as Christians, we are a part of something bigger; the greatest Cathedral ever built. This is why Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23-24 that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance form the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
“That, I think, is the secret to finding fulfillment in your work – the ability to see beyond your immediate task to the grand scheme, to recognize that your daily duties, no matter how mundane, are part of God’s plan for the ages. …in reality we are, each and every one of us, co-laborers with Him.” -Living in Harmony by Richard Exley
Written by Amy Pino
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