Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Build A Church

Years ago there was a certain traveller who loved to experience different cultures and find new ideas.  As he neared the next town on his journey, he noticed a man next to the road breaking stones.  As he was quite weary he sat down under a tree and observed the man.  He noticed that the man seemed to be quite aimless and would often stop and just stare off into the distance.  Then he would carry on again and half-heartedly chisel at a few more stones.  Eventually the traveller asked the man what it was that he was doing.  Irritated , the man mumbled rudely that the traveller was a fool if he could not see what he was doing.  To this the traveller replied that he could see that the man was breaking the rocks into smaller pieces, but could not understand what he was doing.  Angrily the man stopped what he was doing and glared at the traveller, clearly thinking him an idiot.  Then, wiping his brow and kicking at the few stones at his feet, he answered that he was breaking the rocks into smaller pieces and then even smaller pieces.
"Ah...." the traveller answered.  The man picked up his pick, strolled about for a few minutes, stared off into the distance and then continued listlessly chipping away at the rocks.  Feeling rested the traveller went on his way.
A few miles further the traveller came to a quarry where he found another man breaking rocks.  He noticed that this man was covered in sweat from the exertion.  He called out a greeting to the man, but the worker hardly took any notice of the traveller.  Going closer, the traveller asked the man what he was doing to which the man grufly answered that he was working, he has to make a living, he does not have time to engage in idle chatter.  The traveller noticed that the man looked very tired and very unhappy, so he tipped his hat to him and continued on his journey.
As the traveller approached the town, he was amazed to find another man busy in the midday heat breaking up stones.  Near him was a huge pile of stones which he had already broken into smaller pieces.  As he drew nearer he could hear the man whistling as he worked.  He, too, was covered in sweat and dust.  Warily the traveller approached the third man and greeted him apprehensively.  To his surprise the man stopped what he was doing and gave him a hearty welcome.  Taking courage the inquisitive traveller asked the man what it was that he was doing.  Proudly the man stretched himself up to his full height and swept an arm over the pile of rocks and said that he was busy building a church. 
"Ah...." the traveller answered and tried to envision what it was that this man saw in his mind's eye, as it was clearly the reason of the beautiful smile on the stonemason's face......
A long story with a simple message.  Three men, doing the same grinding job, but the effect on each was vastly different.  The first man had no vision, he was just going through the motions, he was irritated and his heart was clearly not in it.  The second man knew that he had to work hard, because he has to provide and earn a living.  There was no time to enjoy life, the job had to get done regardless, although he had an aim it was only a short term plan.  The third man had a purpose, he had his eye on the end result, he knew why he was doing it all and it gave him immense pleasure.
The question is: which one am I?  Do I just go through the motions of living, without purpose, without focus?  Without purpose life loses its meaning.  The second man spent all his time working, being driven to survive, to make a living, to accumulate.  He took no time to enjoy the moment, his focus was on his immediate needs.  Is that who I am? Focusing on the daily struggle, rushing from moment to moment, no goal beyond the day to day fight for survival.  The last man’s heart was filled with joy despite the hard work, he would take a moment for a friendly chat, sharing his dream, keeping his eyes focused on the end goal.  He saw beyond the toil, the dust, the daily grind and looked forward to the end result.
Living life with a purpose, having a goal higher than ourselves gives our lives a whole different meaning.  Life with purpose is a life filled with happiness and expectation. Living a purposeful life gives us peace, and direction.

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