I would like to share a parable with you. A master carpenter decided to retire after 40 years of hard work. He had been working for the same builder for his whole career. He had built hundreds of incredible homes and buildings that were nothing short of spectacular during his career. When he announced his retirement, the builder told him how much he had appreciated his hard work, his attention to detail, and his friendship through the years. He said that he was sad that the carpenter was about to retire. His only regret was that he had one more spectacular house that he had hoped to have the carpenter build for him. He presented him with a $7,500 bonus and asked the master carpenter to build him this one last house. He went on to explain that he had purchased an incredible piece of property with spectacular views and felt it was an ideal place for a dream home.
The master carpenter was bitterly disappointed at the relatively small bonus for a lifetime of hard work and was none too happy that he was being asked to construct another home. After some thought, he figured that the $7,500 along with his savings would allow him to buy a small cottage to retire to. He contacted the builder and agreed to build the dream home. The builder was very pleased with the news.
The master carpenter had always prided himself upon his uncompromising commitment to quality, but his resentment towards the builder caused him to cut corners, ignore the details and accept shoddy workmanship from his workers. He even looked the other way when some of the workers bought cheaper materials than normal and pocketed the difference.
When the house was finished, the builder shook the carpenter’s hand and with a huge smile gave him thank-you card. The master carpenter was filled with disdain until he opened the card and saw that he had been given the deed to the spectacular property and dream home that he had just built.
The carpenter was ashamed to have misjudged his old friend and betrayed his own values. He was filled with remorse that the house that he had built and would now live in for the rest of his life had been made so carelessly.
Let us be reminded of this parable and realize that as Masons we are taught that our character is the house that we live in, and it is built piece by piece by our daily choices. Deceit, irresponsibility, and disrespect are like shoddy workmanship. Whenever we put in less than our best and ignore our potential for excellence, we create a future full of creaky floors, leaky roofs and crumbling foundations.
Yours in Brotherhood,
Robert J. Gregory