Text Illustrations

John Stott tells a joke against his vocation: a clefgyman is the last person in the world to write about work. For, as everybody knows, he has not done an honest day’s work in his life. As the old saying goes, he is ‘six days invisible and one day incomprehensible!’

The story is told of a man who was taking a walk down a country lane, when he came across a stone quarry in which a number of men were working. He questioned several of them about what they were doing. The first replied irritably, ‘Can’t you see? I’m hewing a stone.’ The second answered without looking up, ‘I’m earning £100 a week.’ But when the same question was put to the third man, he stopped, put his pick down, stood up, stuck out his chest and said, ‘If you want to know what I’m doing, I’m building a cathedral.’ So it is a matter of how far we can see. The first man could not see beyond his pick, and the second beyond his Friday pay packet. But the third man looked beyond his tools and his wages to the ultimate end he was serving. He was co-operating with the architect. However small his particular contribution, he was helping to construct a building for the worship of God.

Work is worship, provided that we can see how our job contributes, in however small and indirect a way, to the forwarding of God’s purpose for mankind. The whatever we do can be done for the glory of God (1 Cor 10.31).

Found in ‘Issues facing Christians Today’, John Stott, Marshalls Paperbacks, 1984.