Building A Cathedral

Work, a major part of our existence, is fertile ground for songs that mirror our attitude toward it.

Among the offspring is Tennessee Ernie Ford’s, “You load sixteen tons and what do you get/ Another day older and deeper in debt/ St. Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go/ I owe my soul to the company store.â€

And its cousin, the amended Disney Dwarfs’ tune, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!â€

Or this ‘40s or ‘50s melodic charge, the lyrics of which I find fairly easy to remember: “Yip yip yip yip boom boom boom boom, get a job! Sha la la la, Sha la la la.â€

Work, for many, has no other incentive than the paycheck. But is that all there is to it? Nothing more than a means to an end, something we have to do to get what we have to have to live as we want? Surely there’s more to it than that.

There is. And it has to do with attitude – how we view our jobs in the first place. Look at your means of livelihood as something you do for God, too, and –presto! – it’s significant, linked to a much larger purpose. And we each can make that shift. This is God’s world, after all, meaning any work that contributes to the quality of life within it can be regarded as an occupation glorifying God. Any.

Which brings to mind a certain man’s visit to a stone quarry. Encountering three of the workers, he asked what they were doing.

“Can’t you see?†said the first. “I’m cutting a stone.â€

“I’m earning a hundred pounds a week,†said the second.

But the third put down his pick, thrust out his chest, and said, “I’m building a cathedral.â€Â 

The late Chuck Colson, telling this story, concluded it, saying, “Whether we are digging ditches, managing a bank, or cleaning houses, the important thing to remember is that we are building a cathedral.â€

Warner F. Davis a retired Presbyterian pastor. Warner has released a spiritual memoir titled, “Peace in a Mad Dog World: Finding Security When My Need For Control had Failed Me,” through Virtual bookworm Publishing. For more information about his book, visit



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