Lessons from the Job Site: Owner's View

By Bro. Vince Kluth
I must confess I am a workaholic. It is practically impossible for me to have workmen pounding away on the job site, and Kluth not being right there in the midst doing something constructive.

I must confess I am a workaholic. It is practically impossible for me to have workmen pounding away on the job site, and Kluth not being right there in the midst doing something constructive. In fact, I'd be up at least two hours before their arrival, laying out electric cords for their tools, ensuring walk ramps were safely laid out over the mud, and placing traffic rugs down in the house over the shortcut to the bathroom. At day's end, I would sweep up, take out a lot of garbage, and see if I could find all my tools. (Sometimes they would wind up in the back of somebody's truck.)


My general contractor's (GC) business rhythm was typical for construction. He'd show up with a small crew of 2 to 3 guys, figure out what needed to be done that day, review it with me then explain to them in Spanish. The GC would stick around for a while and work with them, but invariably he needed to take off to Home Depot for some material.


As long as the GC was around, all the men were quite busy. Those were the most productive hours seen. My role at that point was mostly supportive: find another power cord, move some lumber out of the way, hand them a tool as needed, etc. When the GC left, their habits changed. It was interesting to observe the various responses to his departure.


Some kept working with the same focus and energy. One fellow, Augustine (the new framer), was a true workhorse. He was smart, speedy, carried exactly the tools he needed and nothing more, and was rather particular. If a piece of lumber was cracked on both ends, he cut those off and used the good middle piece. If two men were struggling to carry a heavy load, he would drop what he was doing and go help. Even if he came on a Saturday to pick up his paycheck from the GC, and someone else was working, he would pick up a shovel and move some dirt. You could wish for more like him on the job.


His associates, however, were not so. Some would lean on the shovel and watch the others work. Some would work for a while, wait till I was out of sight, then make a video call with family in El Salvador. Lunch breaks came early and lasted long under the shade tree. Worse yet, when an unforeseen issue arose, I would attempt to direct them like the GC, but to little effect. They would push back with a confused look, mumble something about why they wanted to do it their way, then abandon that and go work on something else. These glitches would go unresolved sometimes for weeks. Sadly, I was the one who would fix it later on.


I was frustrated. Didn't they understand I was the owner? Don't they realize the owner has more weight and say over what happens than the GC?  Why is it these people aren't totally on board with my project? Why can't they be more like Augustine, who really seems to get it?


The spiritual parallels flooded my mind. We are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. We're not doing the work of missions alone! Didn't Jesus say go into all the world the same time He said, Lo I am with you always?  You know He is present, right?  So then, what kind of laborer are we in His mission field?  Maybe He sees our "good and holy" behavior while the under-shepherd is around, but when the pastor's car leaves the parking lot, do I return to my own thing? I actually began to sense Jesus on my very job site!


Once again, there's nothing new under the sun. The Bible describes slothful workers both in the pew and the pulpit. Paul exhorts us to be not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. In Colossians, he said Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. To connect to my story, God through the Apostle says He is looking for more Augustines!  Regarding lazy ministers, God through Isaiah says his watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  Imagine what a wreck my building project would be if my GC weren't around. Sadly, some churches are a spiritual wreck because they have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.


Is it any wonder the Lord Jesus said, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.  Maybe He really means it; after all, He is the owner.


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