Think about character, reputation, integrity while building life


A wealthy man had a friend who was a builder.

The builder hadn’t done much work lately, so the wealthy man felt compelled to try to encourage his builder friend. He presented the out-of-work builder with a set of plans and a check for $300,000.

He said, “I want you to build a new home for me. I’m turning the entire project over to you. Here are the plans. Here’s the check. Use it all to build the best house you can build. When the project is finished, I will pay you well.”

Of course, the builder was thrilled. He went right to work. As the project got underway, he began thinking of ways he could cut corners to save money. He intended to pocket some of that $300K.

He bought the cheapest concrete he could find, and then he watered it down. He bought the least expensive lumber. He did the same thing with the plumbing and electrical supplies. He cut corners everywhere he could.

When the job was finished, he had saved almost $40,000, which he discreetly buried in his own bank account.

When the purchaser came to look at the finished product, he was quite impressed. On the surface, the home was beautiful. He had no idea what the builder had done to cut costs.

There was no way to know it at the time, but the structural integrity of the entire house had been compromised. Evidence of these bad decisions wouldn’t show up for a few years.

The builder was ecstatic to see how pleased the owner was as he presented him with the keys to his new home. He expected a very handsome paycheck for the work he had done.

You can just imagine how shocked he was when the wealthy man said, “These keys are for you. This home is a gift. I had it built just for you.”

You may not be a carpenter, but the truth is, we’re all building something. Whether it is at home, at school, on the job, at church or out in the community, we are constructing character, building reputations and erecting integrity.

When you cut corners by being dishonest or when you fail to give your best, you are hurting yourself by undermining and even destroying whatever you have built.

Today’s decisions will have an undeniable effect on your future. Like this house I described, a person can look good on the outside, but inside, the walls and the foundation may be crumbling.

Over the next few weeks, let’s give some thought to the kind of materials we are building into our lives.

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at or you can email him at [email protected].

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