An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house- building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife, enjoying his extended family.
He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he would build just one more house as a personal favor.
The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship, cut corners, and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work, and the builder came to inspect the house, his employer handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said. “You own it outright. This is my gift to you for many years of faithful service!”
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known, he was building his own house! He would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built and knew the quality of craftsmanship he had invested in its construction.
It is the same with us. We can build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up with less than the best. At important points, we can choose not to give the job our best effort. Then with a shock, we will look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized it sooner, we would have done it differently.
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your life as the house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. This is your life. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. Your life today is the result of your choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of the choices you make today.