Today’s One Year Bible reading in 1 Kings 5–6 describes the construction of the Temple by King Solomon. His father, King David, had wanted to build a temple to honor God. But God didn’t allow him to do so, giving the task instead to his son Solomon.

The Temple was constructed by skilled workers, using finished stones and cedar beams and planks. The walls and ceilings were paneled with cedar decorated with beautiful carvings, and were overlaid with solid gold. The furnishings inside the Temple were either made of gold or overlaid with gold. It was truly a fitting house of worship for a great God.

But as impressive as the structure was, it would have been in vain if God wasn’t involved. As today’s One Year Bible reading in Psalm 127 says, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.” This Psalm instructs us to rely on God for protection and provision in our daily lives.

This combination of passages in 1 Kings and Psalms reminded me of the story of the three bricklayers—a parable that is rooted in an authentic story:

“After the great fire of 1666 that leveled London, the world’s most famous architect, Christopher Wren, was commissioned to rebuild St Paul’s Cathedral."

“One day in 1671, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold, one crouched, one half-standing and one standing tall, working very hard and fast. To the first bricklayer, Christopher Wren asked, ‘What are you doing?’ The bricklayer replied, ‘I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.’ The second bricklayer responded, ‘I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.’ But the third bricklayer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, replied with a gleam in his eye, ‘I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.’ ” (Excerpted from

(It was my privilege many years ago to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and climb to the very top, from which I looked out across the London skyline. But that’s another story…)

One bricklayer was just working to feed his family—doing whatever he had to do to provide for their physical needs, oblivious of a greater purpose. Another was following his vocation—“this is what I do,” but unmindful of “the big picture.” But the third had a vision greater than himself—the glory of God. He was doing his work in accordance with 1 Cor. 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

As the Westminster Shorter Catechism (which surely was/is taught in St. Paul’s Cathedral) states: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

How about you? Are you just “feeding your family,” or are you “building a cathedral”?

by Darrel Eppler, Chairman of the Elder Board

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