And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem…
There comes over to our shores a poor stonecutter. The times are so bad at home that he is scarcely able to earn bread enough to eat; and by a whole year's stinting economy he manages to get together just enough to pay for a steerage passage to this country. He comes, homeless and acquaintanceless, and lands in New York, and wanders over to Brooklyn and seeks employment. He is ashamed to beg bread; and yet he is hungry. The yards are all full; but still, as he is an expert stonecutter, a man, out of charity, says, "Well, I will give you a little work — enough to enable you to pay for your board." And he shows him a block of stone to work on. What is it? One of many parts which are to form some ornament. Here is just a querl or fern, and there is a branch of what is probably to be a flower. He goes to work on this stone, and most patiently shapes it. He carves that bit of a fern, putting all his skill and taste into it. And by and by the master says, "Well done," and takes it away, and gives him another block, and tells him to work on that. And so he works on that, from the rising of the sun till the going down of the same, and he only knows that he is earning his bread. And he continues to put all his skill and taste into his work. He has no idea what use will be made of those few stems which he has been carving, until afterwards, when, one day, walking along the street, and looking up at the front of the Art Gallery, he sees the stones upon which he has worked. He did not know what they were for; but the architect did. And as he stands looking at his work on that structure which is the beauty of the whole street the tears drop down from his eyes, and he says, "I am glad I did it well." And every day, as he passes that way, he says to himself exultingly, "I did it well." He did not draw the design nor plan the building, and he knew nothing .of what use was to be made of his work; but he took pains in cutting those stems; and when he saw that they were a part of that magnificent structure his soul rejoiced. Dear brethren, though the work which you are doing seems small, put your heart in it; do the best you can wherever you are; and by and by God will show you where He has put that work. And when you see it stand in that great structure which He is building you will rejoice in every single moment of fidelity with which you wrought. Do not let the seeming littleness of what you are doing now damp your fidelity.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.