“. . . cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9
During a visit to the NASA space center in 1962, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor sweeping the floor. He interrupted his tour and walked over to the man and asked what he was doing. “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon,” the janitor responded. A similar story is the one of Christopher Wren, one of England’s greatest architects. One day he was walking anonymously among the men working on the construction of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, which he designed. “What are you doing?” he asked one of the workmen. The man replied, “I’m cutting a piece of stone.” As he walked, he asked the same question to another man, and the man replied, “I’m earning five shillings two-pence a day.” To a third man he addressed the same inquiry, and the man answered, “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful cathedral.”
“You’ve got to be for something,” Dwight D. Eisenhower would often say; this as opposed to being against – or worse, indifferent to – what already exists. This past weekend I decided to boycott my college alma mater’s football game because I was so upset over their losses in the previous two games. It was an act intended to express my indifference, if not opposition toward my favorite college team. Eventually, though, I broke down and watched the last few minutes of the game. How can I be against or indifferent to, I finally realized, something I am passionately for?
The janitor sweeping the NASA space center was for something, something meaningful and good, and sweeping the floors was his way to be part of it, and to contribute. Likewise, the third stonecutter felt the same about his endeavors in the building of the beautiful and famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He was for something, and passionately so. And although trivial in comparison, despite my frustration, I could not help but cheer on my alma mater because deep down I’ve got to be for something.
To “. . . cling to what is good”, as St. Paul urges, is to be for something, to embrace and support what is right and good with all our might. Sometimes, as with our favorite sports teams, we may be heartbroken or disappointed in the process, but being for is far more positive and productive than just being against, or worse, indifferent.