The Three Stonecutters
Seeing the Big Picture
This story illustrates a key leadership quality — seeing the big picture. All three stone cutters were doing the same thing, but each gave a different answer, which revealed the difference in their attitude towards their job. The first stonecutter is simply doing a day’s work for a day’s pay, for the material reward he receives in exchange for his labor. The substance of his work, the purpose of his work, the context of his work do not matter. The second stonecutter is a perfectionist that receives satisfaction from himself…consumed with individual ambition to be the best. This individual is blinded to the fact that there would be no stones to cut if not for the community building a cathedral.
What set’s the third stonecutter apart? This person embraces a broader vision. It’s interesting that he can visualize the end result…a cathedral, knowing that he will not live long enough to see its completion. (Building a cathedral may take years and years and years…) This stonecutter is giving a lifetime of work that will connect the present and future with generations to come. He may not live to see the total results of his labor, but he knows that his labor is not in vain. He has the ability to see significance in work, beyond the obvious. He has a vision, a sense of the bigger picture.
Understanding that a legacy will live on, whether in the stone of a cathedral, or in the impact made on other people, is the reason I am called to ministry to children and families. I am grateful to be connected to a community of people with a passion to teach the gospel to the next generation. To tell them that Jesus will love them forever and they can trust God no matter what! Though there are difficult situations in ministry and managing the administration can be burdensome but I will trust God to keep the big picture in focus and trust Him to provide more stone cutters to serve and lead.
We have an opportunity while serving in a church to produce not just leaders who make a difference in the world but leaders who make a difference for the world–for the Glory of God!
We may not need more cathedrals but we do need cathedral thinkers, people who can think beyond their own lifetimes. ~Author Unknown