There is something about seeing a cathedral under construction that is awe inspiring. Even if you cannot ever imagine attending a service there, the building itself is a testimony to vision, endurance, and patience. Most of the time one walks through the cool corridors exploring the various alcoves when the building is complete. However, if you are ever in New York, take some time to go to the upper west side and see what represents several lifetimes of work still in progress.
On the other hand, when one spots a true tumbledown shack, one knows instantly what is before him. The image that quickly comes to my mind is the office of a wrecking yard in Cleveland Tennessee. It is located what a shack should be, in the bottom of a swale where water collects in order to breed invading mosquitoes. The faded rust colored paint and washed out lettering tell of more carefree days. Even though there were and are some hidden finds, not quite jewels, the organization, or rather lack of, speaks to the fact that whatever this is, it really does not fit the definition of a wrecking yard. After a couple of visits, I knew. The correct description of this shack and swamp should be a junk yard.
You might think that there would be an easily identifying mark on the people that live in either location. After spending a few hours in both I am not sure there is. Both families know and care for each other. Each group of people has a clear sense of where they are, even if they cannot see the potential that still lies dormant. To the casual observer it seems almost unfair.
The difference shows in where the focus their energies. One is looking to recover value to pay for the weekend; the other is recovering souls to spend eternity celebrating. One expends energy in the struggle to enjoy life while the other lives life to the full.
“Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks; holy living builds soaring cathedrals.” (Proverbs 14.11)