Christopher Wren, who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, wrote about the reactions of construction workers on the site when they were asked what they were doing.
The workers who appeared to be clearly bored and tired responded by saying things like, “I’m laying bricks” or “I’m carrying stones.”
But one worker, Wren tells us, was mixing cement with a seemingly unexplainable cheer and enthusiasm in his task. When he was asked what he was doing, he replied, “I’m building a magnificent cathedral.”
I guess it is all in your perspective.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of hosting a benefit concert to raising awareness and funds for the problem of human trafficking around our planet. It was a huge success and the entire event was conceived and organized by a local fourteen year old girl that attends our youth group. Amazing!
Next week, another adult and I will be travelling with eight young teens to a conference in California focusing on leadership development through serving others. We’ll join over 200 other students who all just want to serve. Incredible!
For each of these teens and many others like them, part of the reason that they enjoy serving others and championing various causes of injustice stems from their relationship with Jesus Christ. For them, serving is a response to the changes that God has brought into their lives and because of this they choose to give back and impact their world through serving it.
“Ridiculous” statements that Jesus made have great influence for these teens. Statements like, “If you want to be first, you have to be last”, or “If you want to be king of all, you have to become a servant”, or “If you truly want to live, you have to die to yourself.”
This is not normal, is it? In a culture where more is better and I am to be the center of the universe, the idea of serving others freely and joyfully is out of place. And yet, could it be that as we do it, we get a glimpse something of the what we were created for.
Maybe that’s why my neighbour enjoys mowing my lawn for me when I am gone on holidays or that time when I was sick.
Perhaps that is the reason the driver next to me rolled down his window and let me know that my tire was dangerously flat when he had nothing to gain by doing it.
Is it just possible that we are wired to serve?
These teens, at the beginning of their life journey, have already discovered something that many of us took much longer to realize. Some of us still haven’t caught it yet. It is that if we look at our work as merely something to do to make a few bucks and survive, we will never be happy.
On the other hand, if we entertain the notion that Jesus might have been on to something and choose to serve others with our work, not to mention our very lives, there is a joy to be discovered that is of great worth.