An elderly home builder was known for his excellent workmanship, use of first rate materials and amazing attention to detail. He was ready to retire and told his apprentice of his plans to leave the house building business.
The apprentice was sorry to see his mentor go and asked if they could build just one more house together before he retired. The home builder said yes, but told the apprentice that he would only work in an advisory capacity. This project would be the apprentice’s from start to finish; the ordering of materials, construction, and ultimately the profits from the sale.
The apprentice thought about it long and hard about how much money the elderly home builder spent in lumber and materials and decided he could save money and increase his profits by ordering inferior materials. So he purchased second rate lumber, electrical wiring, and other building materials. He thought to himself, once I put up the drywall and add a coat of paint to the walls, no one will know the difference anyway as long as the outside looks good. In time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work and he resorted to shoddy workmanship that could easily be covered up with paint, carpet and other window dressings.
When the apprentice finished his work, the builder came to inspect the house. His plan worked, the elderly builder inspected the house, only able to see the exterior, and complimented the apprentice on a job well done. He handed the front-door key to the apprentice. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."
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 none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently. Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."
Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.