Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 19, 2005
Everyone plays a part in changing our world
Every task has meaning, matters
Light One Candle
Balancing work and rest should be part of the natural cycle of life. For too many people, though, the problem is work itself. It's either stressful or it's boring. It's too demanding or it's mind-numbing. Often, apparently, all at the same time.
Even some men and women who are good at what they do don't seem to find great meaning or simple satisfaction in their daily efforts. And that’s too bad, not just for them and their loved ones but also their co-workers, who probably have to put up with their griping and discontent.
There's a story about folks like these that Father James Keller, who founded The Christophers 60 years ago, used to tell. Three labourers were asked about their jobs.
The first replied, "I cut blocks of stone."
The second, a carpenter, answered, "I earn a living for myself and my family."
The third, who carried the stone and wood for the others, said, "What am I doing? Why, I'm building a cathedral!"
It's a matter of perspective, isn't it? That's certainly what Father Keller believed.
In an early Christopher book, Careers That Change Your World, he reminded people that "every individual, young or old, rich or poor, in low position or high, can play an important part however small, under God, in changing our world. . . .
"Mere complaining or criticizing accomplishes nothing. ‘Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness" sums up our approach. In exact proportion as light is added, so does the darkness disappear. . . .
"Because God has implanted in every human being a desire to be creative, to make a certain contribution to the peace of the world that no one else can make, the Christopher approach stresses individual initiative. . . .
"As this simple, hopeful, constructive process is developed, so will the peace of Christ be restored to a weary, desolate world.
"You are important! No one else can substitute or supply the contribution that you – and you alone – can make. With this motivation, the most difficult task can become a labour of love."
There's no doubt that Father Keller liked to think big. He was firmly convinced that God gives each one of us talents and gifts that are ours alone. Whether at home, in our neighbourhood – or on the job – we have a unique opportunity to make a difference.
I believe that, too. That doesn't mean that every task at work is enjoyable or exciting, but it always has meaning. And it's always part of God's plan – and our mission.
Make it a labour of love.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail: email@example.com.)
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