It started one day as I was sitting on the curb. It was one of those days. You know the type that starts out with a wrestling match. Me… the dog… for my sock. Spilt milk from the kid’s cereal and the argument with the wife about finance as you walk out the door. And then about an hour into the day I get this call from the boss. “As you know we are downsizing and your position has been contracted out. I’ve no complaints about your work, but you understand.” After a short discussion I turned to leave – obviously there was nothing further to be gained – I was out of a job. His parting words ” Oh go ahead and take the rest of the day off.” More like the rest of my life. So here I was sitting on the curb wondering what I was going to do. What was I going to tell my wife and family?
That’s when he showed up. Asked if I wanted a job. Paid $30 an hour and I could start that afternoon. It sure sounded good to me. He wrote down an address on the back of a business card and handed it to me. Told me to ask for Joe. I knew the area, thanked him and headed off in that direction. Funny I never thought to ask what sort of work I would be doing. Here I was in my suit and tie, at $30 an hour it must be pretty important. It took me about an hour to locate the place. Not exactly what I was expecting. A large yard with a house being constructed on it. There were a number of men about doing different things. Some painting, some hammering, sawing. Everyone seemed busy. Finally I spotted a man with a clipboard in his hand and ask if he knew Joe. He pointed me to a trailer off to the side and then went back to assigning tasks to some of the men. I went in the trailer and behind a desk sat a man. I ask if he was Joe.
“Sure am, what can I do for you?” he asked. I introduce myself and showed him the card. “Oh I understand now. Well there is not much I can do for you right now, but be here at 7:00 sharp and we will see what you can do. Ever worked on a house before?”
“No, never worked much with my hands.” I replied.
“Not surprising considering who sent you. Well we will just have to see what you can do tomorrow, 7 o’clock. By the way here is $300 dollar you will need to get some work clothes”, he commented looking at my suit.
$300 dollars and a $30 an hour job! This was turning into a great day. First stop Sammy T’s bar and then home to the family to celebrate. Everyone was happy especially the wife. She couldn’t believe my good fortune.
The next day was a different story. I woke up late: 8 o’clock! As I headed out for the job, I had forgotten to purchase some clothes and only had $50 of the original left. Well a quick stop by Wal-Mart, a set of jeans and a work shirt ( I would have to get some boots later), a change and I was off to the site. I arrived at 10 and while Joe was a little upset, he asked if I had ever done any painting? My experience around homes was very limited. I told him I hadn’t. He assigned me my job for the day. There was a large drum that contained some white paint. I was to go around and collect the empty cans and fill them with paint and then return them to the men who were painting. This seems easy enough for $30 an hour. I started around picking up a few empty cans. I don’t know how these guys do it. The first can and there was wet paint all over my hand. There was a ladder near by that someone was painting from, so I wiped my hands off on the rung as best I could, didn’t want to get my new clothes dirty. I headed back to the drum. I placed a can under the spigot and gave it a twist. Just then there was a loud sound from behind the house. I ran to see what had happened. There on the ground was a painter who had slipped from his ladder. What a mess. What in the world could have happened? Oh no, that was the very ladder that I had used to wipe my hands on. I must have made it slippery with the paint I wiped off. Well there were others tending to him, so I returned to the drum. Coming around the corner of the house I looked down. There at my feet was a stream of white paint. I had left the spigot open on the drum and the can had filled and was over flowing. I quickly ran to the drum and turned the spigot off. White paint was everywhere. Surely the drum was almost empty.
“What happened here!” Joe asked.
“I went to see what the ruckus was and forget that I left the spigot open.” I replied sadly.
Joe called some other men over to help clean up the mess. That pretty much took the rest of the day.
The following day, I was only an hour late; Joe set me to work on the inside of the house. One of the guys asked that I grab a ladder from the other room. Picking it up, I swung around and crashed out a window. Coming back I hit another worker and knocked him and his can of paint on to the floor. Things didn’t get any better that day. Knocking a can of nails over. Sliding against freshly painted walls. Putting a hole in the wall with a hammer when I missed the nail. This wasn’t my line of work. Finally Friday came and I wondered how much of my first check would be left after they took out for all the things I broke, lost, or damaged. There was Joe handing out the checks. I walked up to him. He gave me one of those looks and then not saying anything handed me an envelope. I thanked him and walked off. Half way to the car I opened it and looked at the amount – $1200! One week’s pay. Not a penny deducted, except what the government takes away. A full weeks pay!
Monday morning came around and at 7 AM I was there. I found Joe and asked him about the check: why nothing had be deducted. I knew that I had not only cost him a lot of material, also the man-hours that were lost because of my actions. Wouldn’t the owner be upset for all of the damage that I had caused? Joe said, ” No, he knew what type of worker you were when he hired you.” What a strange comment.
Well I continued to work at that job till the house was finished. I wish I could say that I made a positive difference to the house. But things just didn’t get any better. A builder I’m just not. Everyday was a real disaster. Windows, walls, roof, floor – ya, I went through them all. It’s a wonder that the house ever was completed with all my ‘help’. Yet every week the check was the same – $1200. At the completion of the job, I heard that the owner was throwing a party, and all of the crew were invited to his house to celebrate. I wasn’t planning on going, concerning all the trouble that I had caused. But Joe spotted me and made it quite clear that everyone was invited and that the owner had specially asked him about me. Together Joe and I went to the owner’s house. As we walked up the stairs to his mansion, I noticed that he was there welcoming and greeting each one. A smile on his face and warm embrace. When we reached the door Joe took the lead.
“I want you to meet someone”, Joe said with a smile. “This is the one I was telling you about.”
“Oh, so you’re the one”, he said. I couldn’t say a word. I had cost him a fortune in building that house. If the sum of the damage that I had caused were to be added up it would have been at least triple what it should have cost. Ya, I was the one.
“Joe told me about you. Seems like something new everyday,” he looked over at Joe.
“Sir, I’m so sorry. I told Joe I was no builder, and well, every day just seemed to be as bad as the day before.” I tried justifying myself. It was no use I had failed him.
“I knew you weren’t a builder the day I hired you.”
“But you still paid me, and now this party. Why?”
“Because I love you, and I can see your value. Come in, come in and celebrate.”
Each Sunday morning the master of my life calls me to His house. Calls me to come in. Though I’m unworthy and have cost Him his Son. He doesn’t call me in to scold me or recount all the failures in my life; a life that He gave me. But to come and celebrate. To celebrate His glory and grace. Each Sunday I’m called to worship, to worship Him in cerebration.