There was once a contractor who built homes in a small town somewhere in Europe. He built most of the homes for the people who lived in the village and was a gifted carpenter. Unfortunately, he was never able to afford a home of his own.
One day, the wealthiest man in town came to the contractor and asked him to build a house. He said, “I want you to build the finest house you are capable of, and I want you to spare no expense. I am going on a journey and when I return I hope that the house will be completed.”
The contractor agreed to the job and was about to begin when a thought struck him: “This wealthy man already has a few houses. I do not have my own. I will use inferior material, cut a few corners and do a quick job on the house, make it look real nice, and charge him the full amount. That way I can pocket the leftover money and finally afford to build my own house.”
So that’s what he did. When the rich man returned he went to view the house and was impressed. It looked beautiful from a distance. The wealthy man turned to the crooked contractor and said, “The house looks wonderful I am so glad that you spared no expense, for I intend to give this home to a dear friend who deserves a house like this one.” With that, he handed the keys over to the contractor and said, “Here is your new home, my friend.”
The contractor graciously received the keys to his new home, but his heart sank as he realized what he had done. What kind of effort and quality of workmanship and materials would the man have put into the home if he had known it would be the place where he and his family would be living?
The moral of the story: Work with integrity, not only when their eyes are upon you, but even when they are not watching. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you are serving the lord, not men, for you know that the lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does. (Ephesians 6:7)