The Stone Mason
There was a group of stone workers building a great cathedral in the years past when workmanship meant something to every worker. Stone placement is always easiest near the ground and when you are covering a large surface. The masons, in a joint effort worked steadily day after day, placing the stones to look as if they had always been in that configuration. It was not uncommon for a stone mason to work months or even years on a project. The work is slow and tedious. The stones are heavy and no two stones are alike. Everywhere there is an obstruction to the flat surface of a building, like a window, a door or a beam, the stone mason is challenged to select the proper stone, shape it and make it fit. There is no way he can rush the job. Too many stones laid too quickly will result in a warped or fallen wall. Every stone must be laid with skill and thought.
On a job like this there are always helpers. There are men who transport the stones from the quarry. There are those who mix the mortar. There are others who lay the stones out from which the mason will pick and chose his next stone. And then, there was always an apprentice… a young man seeking to be a stone mason.
The master stone mason would teach his young apprentice all of the fine points and the fine art of masonry. In gentle, side by side conversation and hands on experience the apprentice would know the mason, know his work and why he did things the way he did. It was a process that took years. The apprentice would take on more of the work, asking questions, taking rebukes, but the goal was sure… one day he himself would be a master mason.
As the building near completion and the last stone was to go in place, the master mason stood on the ground with a stone on his work table. He would look at the peak of the building and then back at the stone. Again he would look at the spot where the stone would rest and again he would look at the stone. Between looks, he would take the point of his mason’s hammer and strike the stone. Again he would look, again he would strike.
The young apprentice, puzzled finally asked, “What are you doing? Why do you keep looking at the building and striking the stone?” The words gently rolled out of the master’s mouth. “I have to shape it down here so it will fit up there.”
Isn’t that what life with the Master here is all about? Aren’t we mere apprentices while we are here? And, isn’t it true that God is shaping us here so we can fit up there? Are you being shaped?