Shukhov’s standard

May 5th, 2008  Email Email  Print Print  

Focus:  Maintaining a strong work ethic

Proverbs 2:9 (NIV)
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair.

If you were to ask the people I’ve ever worked for or with, I doubt you’d ever hear them say I wasn’t willing to work hard or that my standards were low.  I’ve always wanted to do things right and I’ve always been willing to work hard to get it right.  The devotional presents an account from author and Nobel prizewinner Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s first novel about Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, a political prisoner in a Siberian labor camp.

Shukhov is forced to build a wall in weather 20 degrees below zero.  As it gets darker and colder the foreman gives the order to hurry the job by throwing leftover mortar over the wall instead of using it, so they could be finished for the day.  “But Shukhov wasn’t made that way,” wrote Solzhenitsyn, telling how the man resisted the order, determined to finish the job right.  “Eight years in a prison camp couldn’t change his nature.  He worried about everything he could make use of, about every scrap of work he could do – nothing must be wasted without good reason.  The foreman yells at him and then hurries away.  But Shukhov – and if the guards had put the dogs on him it would have made no difference – ran to the back and looked about.  ‘Not bad.’  Then he ran and gave the wall a good look-over, to the left, to the right, his eye as accurate as a carpenter’s level, straight and even.  Only then did Shukhov stop working.”

Consider your standard.  Is what you’ve done “good enough for government work” or do you have a higher standard – Shukhov’s standard?

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