“What are you doing?” The bricklayer looked annoyed, his concentration broken by the idiotic question. Could there be any doubt? Wasn’t it blatantly obvious? “I’m laying bricks!” he snapped and went back to his work, not bothering to turn around and even see who was talking to him. Sir Christopher Wren, the famed architect of the 17th century, continued walking, his curiosity piqued. This wasn’t just a wall. It was a part of Wren’s greatest masterpiece−St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. “What are you doing?” he asked the second bricklayer. Though he still didn’t turn around, this time the man sighed, stared off into space, and said, “You gotta earn a living somehow, eh mate?” Wren continued. This time after posing the question, the third bricklayer straightened up, turned around, and with a wry grin, he said, “As it were, I’m building this great cathedral for the glory of God!”
There’s probably a lot more legend to that story than anything else, but even if it’s not factual, its truth remains: how you choose to look at something affects what you see. In other words, if you seek transformation, that’s what you’ll find. Everything you look at will change. Each of us goes through life falling into one of the three categories above at one time or another, depending on what we’re doing.
Task Oriented: just going through the motions to get the job done
Means-to-an-End: recognizing the banality of the work, but accepting it’s necessity to earn a paycheck
Being a Part of Something Greater: accepting your personal limitations but recognizing your role in the “big picture”
The surprising thing is that you are more in control of making meaning than you think. Each of the bricklayers above was doing the same job. But they all saw it differently. Changing your perspective is everything.
As Christians, we are called to seek transformation−not only in ourselves, but also in our community. And if we learn to look at it the right way, the work we do in our everyday, ordinary lives can take on more special meaning if we see it as playing a part in what God is doing in the world, as become a Kingdom Builder here on Earth.
Once you master the Kingdom perspective, it starts to transform the world around you. The homeless man in the Wal-Mart parking lot starts to look a lot more like Christ. The same is true for the hungry, the strangers, the sick, the prisoners (Matthew 25:35-36). And if you start seeing the Christ in them, the Christ in you becomes a little easier for others to see. Before you know it, both the world and you are transformed, and we’re all one step closer to the Kingdom.