When No One Is Watching

Image from  www.elivelife.com
Image from

A story is told of a carpenter called John who worked almost two decades for a successful contractor. One day, the contractor called him to his office and said, “John, I’m putting you in charge of the next building. I want you to order all the materials and supervise the job to its conclusion.”

John accepted the assignment with great enthusiasm. He studied the designs and checked out every measurement and specification in the blueprint. Suddenly, he had a thought. If I’m really in charge, why don’t I cut a few corners, use less expensive materials, and put the extra money in my pocket? Who will know? Once the house is painted, it will look great.

So John set about his cheeky house scheme. He ordered second-grade timber and inexpensive concrete, put in cheap wiring, and cut every corner he could. When the home was finished, the contractor came to see it.

“What a fine job you’ve done!” he said. “You’ve been such a faithful carpenter to me all these years that I have decided to show you my gratitude by giving you a gift- this house.” End of story.

Image from: http://calmingcorners.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/peace-of-mind.jpg
Image from: http://calmingcorners.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/peace-of-mind.jpg

This story posed a number of questions in my mind

  • What happened to the Carpenter? Did he collapse? Was he sad?
  • Did he regret his actions?
  • Did he sell the house?
  • Did he live in the house anyway?
  • Had he known that the house was his would he have done what he did?

Sitting at my desk I have many thoughts and lessons. The key lesson that stands out is that I need to remain an honest and faithful servant or worker because I never know what is in store and how my daily actions will affect what I receive in life. It has also taught me that what I do to others today will come back to me in future, so it is better that I do what is good and right if I expect good to come back to me.

We all have the opportunity to build well every day or we will have to live with the character and reputation we construct. May we always seek to be and do the best we can that it may come back to us good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking” C. S. Lewis

Magdaline ’11


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