We Have the Choice to Build Up or Tear Down


Years ago I picked up a poem named “The Choice.” I do not know where I got it nor the author, but it illustrates the importance of building others up. This poem raises the question of whether we will tear down or build up.

I watched some men tearing a building down,
a group of men in my home town.
With a heave and a ho and a mighty yell,
They swung the ball and a side wall fell.

And I said to the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
the type you’d hire if you want to build?”
And he smiled, then laughed and said, “No indeed,
common laborer is all I need.
For we can tear down in a day or two,
what it took a builder years to do.”

As I turned, I shook my head,
I knew there was truth in what he said.
And I thought to myself as I walked away,
which of these roles am I going to play?

Am I a builder as I work with care,
measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds to a well-laid plan,
carefully doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town,
content with the labor of tearing down?

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