WE VISIT THE WORK DETAIL
We boys were so fascinated by his enthusiasm that we went to watch him. Most of the men who worked with him were leaning on their shovels, looking miserable.
Not our neighbor.
When he saw us, he stopped to take us on a quick tour. He told us how to dig a ditch. Then he showed us his handiwork. His ditches were straight, uniformly deep with firm sides.
“Aren’t they beautiful?” He was proud of his ditches.
EVENINGS ON THE PORCH
Another night “our group” was sitting on the porch, watching the sun go down. The sunset was beautiful, and this neighbor was overtaken with enthusiasm.
I mean really excited! About a sunset.
“What a beautiful sunset!” he exclaimed. “What a miracle to watch!” Even though he had experienced a letdown that would have depressed many, he could get excited about a sunset.
One night, he announced that he had been made foreman. He was filled with compassion and pity for his men. They refused to accept their lot in life and spent the day moaning and complaining.
Our neighbor now had a new zest for his job: the challenge of lifting his men out of despondency and showing them how to be thankful they had some work to do.
HE HAD LEARNED AN IMPORTANT LESSON
As I watched this highly skilled craftsman who could find a challenge and satisfaction in anything he did, I realized he had mastered a pivotal principle: it was not the task that was important, but the spirit he brought to that task.
He brought an undaunted spirit to every task and experience. As a result, he was happy and successful.
The next spring he made a garden. He was equally thrilled with the garden and worked in it every evening. The entire process fascinated him.
“What a miracle,” he would say. “Look at everything grow.” To others, a garden was so much dust, mud, and hours of bending over. To my neighbor, it was a miracle.
This man had a faith that sustained him. His faith could be summed up in this paragraph from the Bible:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).