The following was written by my late father circa 1950 and delivered by him on a local radio station in the Philadelphia area. He was an architect with Hatfield, Martin and White at the time. --GKW
by George F. Werner, Jr.
It is natural for us to look at things from the perspective of our own experience and background. This is very much like the story of the three men who looked at the same tree; but they saw three different trees, each according to his own interests. And so, I don't believe I would be very much out of line if I should like to view my life as a building and Christ as the Architect.
Now, mine is not a very fancy building, and it will not win any awards; but the Architect bids me build it strong, of sound materials, and appropriate for the Owner's purpose – God's purpose.
A very important consideration when embarking on any building program is selection of site. You must put the building on the right lot. Now, I could build her on earth; and, I might turn out a very fine building from all outward appearances. But, the materials here on earth are worldly and perishable; and, I fear that before long, my building would again revert to the rubble and rubbish from which it was built. And so, the Architect bids me build in heaven, where the materials have an eternal quality, and where that which is built will last forever.
There is a saying among architects that a building is no better than the foundation upon which it rests. I think it was in recognition of this truth when Jesus spoke of the wisdom of building on rock instead of sand. Now, He is not only my Architect, but also the Foundation upon which He bids me build, so that I may be strong to withstand the storms and tempests that beset all of us.
He has given me a wonderful set of specifications. Oh, if I could only build according to the letter of those specifications, what a magnificent structure I would have! But, unfortunately, I cannot read very well, and my understanding is dim and vague; but, the Architect takes my hand and helps me place every stone. Only in that way is the building ever built at all.
The analogy breaks down at this point, because a very unusual and wonderful thing takes place. You see, in my line of work, if I should come across a builder who would misconstrue the drawings and specifications and turn in a shoddy and messy piece of work, I would not be able to write the final certificate, or recommend the building to the owner for acceptance. As a matter of fact, such a builder would undoubtedly find himself in the hands of the bonding company, long before he reached this point.
But, not so with the Architect of my life-house. He does not so much as look at the defects. And there are plenty of them! My walls are anything but plumb, level, and true to line; and there are places where they have missed the foundations all together. And my roof leaks.
But, as I say, He never even looks at these things. Oh, He knows they are there. I am not able to kid Him along, as the saying goes. But He doesn't look at them, and, what's more, by some extreme personal cost to Himself, He transforms the shabby structure into a beautiful mansion, writes the final certificate and recommends the building to the Owner for acceptance.
And the Owner accepts. Not because of any intrinsic value in the structure itself, or quality of the builder, but because of the integrity of the right Architect who chose me.
I thank God for such an Architect.
Copyright circa1950 George Frederick Werner Jr. and 2001 Geoffrey and Virginia Werner / Deborah and Glenn Arnesen. All rights reserved.