Dick Hunt's Blog

May 11, 2012

When No-One Is Watching.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:50 pm

When No-One Is Watching.
by Dick Hunt, May 11th, 2012.

When I worked in Construction in Saskatoon Saskatchewan  during summer break  from College, I was working with another man on a site one Saturday and he was displeased with me. He said I was working too hard and giving our employer too good a deal.  I replied that I always try to do my best.  He responded, “there is nobody watching us, slow down”. I  said, well, I am sure that there is someone watching us.  He looked around the corner and told me there was no-one in sight.  I said, “well, God sees us.”  He said “oh I see what you mean. Anyway, I am going to heaven because I don’t get drunk or run around with women”. I said he was not well informed and I was going to continue to do my best.

The Foreman on the job had been a staunch supporter of Hitler before he came to Canada.  When he learned I was preparing for Ordination, he became very hostile and did all he could to make my life difficult.  I learned that a smile from me bothered him but I continued to smile anyway and to do my job well.  One Saturday, when we had been pouring a new basement in the hot sun, he said loudly, “I want a volunteer to take a wheelbarrow load of concrete mix two blocks west so I can finish a set of steps.” I had been hittng the books all winter and was out of condition.  But I volunteered and ran the two blocks and then waited for him to arrive so I could unload. He  was grouchy about that, but gradually his treatment of me improved and he went about calling me Padre.  An appropriate Scripture is Proverbs 15:1. That does not require that we ignore the opportunity to advance our sharing of our Faith and Joy, but to do so gently (1Peter3:15).
I did however have some strong supporters on the crew when we built a large Church in the city and they were Mennonite Carpenters.  They were well trained, happy workers and we enjoyed a good fellowship at lunch and coffee break time. When I applied for the job I was asked for my papers showing that I was a Journeyman Carpenter. I replied that my training had taken place when I worked with highly qualified builders from Scotland, England, Norway and Germany.  He said, he would start me on the wheelbarrow at $1.25 an hour.  Well, we needed to buy groceries.  He promised to shift me to Carpentry at $1.95 per hour after we had poured six basements. After we had poured 16 basements, he came on site one Friday and I asked him for my cheque as I was quitting. He said he wanted me to stay on. I was in fact running the basement crew. I told him he was unfair and had broken his word.  He relented and told me to report to the foreman, Clem at the Church site on Monday.

I did so, and my pay went up to $1.95 per hour.  But Clem didn’t think I was qualified. He put me to pulling nails and sweeping floors.  While I was sweeping, he was telling one of his new Journeymen to install a whole wall of windows in the office section.  Johnny said he didn’t learn to do that. I was laughing and Clem said, “so what’s funny”.  I replied, “I will install the windows.”  He said, ‘ you don’t have any tools.“ I told him my tools were all in the car where they had been for a month.  He said, “Show me.”  I asked for the blueprints. And from then on I was a carpenter builder. When I told Clem at the end of August that I would be leaving to go back to University he tried to talk me out of it, saying he needed me  because I was the best finishing man he had. He even shed a few tears.  There is something to be said for persistence.

We need to become  aware that God wants  us to do our best in all the good things we attempt. We are called   to love and worship the Lord our God and love and serve  our neighbours as (much as) ourselves. We need to put God first of all.  He loves all his human creatures so much than in the course of time he devised a Rescue Mission to bring us all back to himself.  He visited his creation in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ to make himself and his love known to us and to enter into our very lives by His Spirit, who will live in us if we invite Him in. Jesus gathered a small group of Disciples around him and was so full of love and sinlessness that the Authorities couldn’t stand him and had him crucifed. He was crucified on the Cross outside the walls of Jerusalem and as he died in aweful agony, prayed for his betrayers saying Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.  He died for us, to show how much he loves us and to take all our disobedience on his own shoulders, in our place.  He paid our debts to God in full and  receive Forgiveness  and Eternal life freely by saying yes to Him and receiving those gifts. We can be free of all our guilt and the troubling of our conscience.

I have a little newspaper clipping of a Dad saying to his small son, “May I give you some advice?”  The little boy answers, “You can try”.  And he was right, of course.  When we have done our best to help and guide people we have to leave it to them as to whether they will accept our efforts. All too soon they become surrounded by their peers and the current activities and pressures that are so hard for them to avoid. “Everyone else is doing it” becomes the toughest test for them and as a consequence for their parents too. It is really tough to let them go.  We can teach them to love God and keep him as the focus of their days and never stop praying for them.

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