The intention was to turn two rooms into meeting rooms and the third into a small kitchenette allowing people to make a cup of tea and prepare refreshments.
Father Ignatius ventured downstairs to check on progress.
Tom was alone busily tiling the floor. He had chosen pink and white tiles to match the colour of the rest of the room.
"Things are improving down here …” commented Father Ignatius as he stood by the doorway.
“They sure are …” replied Tom turning down the volume of his radio a little.
“Are these tiles already fixed?” asked the priest.
“Yes … some are already cemented in and they’re drying out nicely … these others over there I’ve yet to cement … why do you ask?”
“Well … pardon me for saying so Tom,” hesitated Father Ignatius, “those tiles over in that area by the wall are not very even … some are a few millimeters higher than the others … enough that you would notice them from here where I’m standing … and they seem to have been placed haphazardly, rather than full square side by side … eh … forgive me Tom, perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned it …”
“Oh don’t worry Father … no one will see them … I’ll be putting the kitchen cabinet here over them … so no one will know about my careless work …” chuckled Tom.
“Jesus will …” replied Father Ignatius quietly.
“Why … is He a works inspector now is He?” chuckled Tom again.
“Tom I’m very grateful to you for volunteering to do this work … this basement would not have been transformed so beautifully if it wasn’t for all you volunteers working together, clearing the old stuff that was here, painting the rooms and corridor and doing all this work … maybe I shouldn’t have said anything … please forgive me …”
“Oh don’t go away Father …” replied Tom as he got up from the floor to stretch his aching back, “if they’re that important to you I’ll fix those tiles again …”
“It’s not that Tom … I was just thinking … many people go through life enduring their job from day to day and treating it as a means to earn a living – and no more. I know you’re doing this for free … and I’m grateful to you and the other workers … but you know what I mean …
“And as time goes by, so does the pride people have in their work. They just do it as a job, and inevitably their standard of performance deteriorates.
“I feel that somehow this is an insult to God …”
“Hein?” mumbled Tom.
“Hear me out Tom … Whatever job we have to do in life, whether it is an influential position of power, a lawyer, doctor or a skilled worker using our hands to do something, like a factory worker for instance … surely our duty is to do the work properly … to the best of our ability. To give the task in hand all the attention and skill that we possess.
“As Jesus was growing up He worked with His father Joseph as a carpenter. Can you imagine Jesus making a table with a wobbly leg?”
Tom shook his head.
“Then why should we?” asked Father Ignatius, “Whatever task we have been given to do – let’s make sure it is not wobbly.”
Tom smiled silently.
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do” continued Father Ignatius, “I’ll leave now and I will not return until you have permanently fixed the kitchen cabinet over that area there.
Only you will know whether those tiles have been fixed properly or not …
only you will know whether the hidden tiles under the cabinet are
uneven and haphazardly laid down … or not!”
“Jesus too will know …” said Tom jokingly as the priest walked up the stairs out of the basement.
“That’s true … but I promise not to ask Him!” chortled Father Ignatius!