In the book Keep Climbing by Gail MacDonald there is a story I love about the traditional life of the Swiss village baker.
Why does a young man rise at such early hours six days a week? What motivates him to work as long as sixteen hours each day for a relatively modest income? And what does his wife Norma, gain from a life-style in which work virtually consumes the best part of every day?
Hans Rudi and Norma are purpose driven. Hans Rudi saw his role in the community as far more significant than the mere baking of a two-kilo loaf of dark bread.
The people of the valley can get along without meat. They can live without milk and other dairy products and they can forgo their vegetables for a while. But the one thing every Swiss family needs every day is bread. I must have the bread ready every morning.
The baker is sometimes the community chaplain. Many times, I will see a man or a woman linger behind the rest of those who have come to buy my bread. I know what is probably going to happen. They want to talk about a family problem or a personal matter that they do not feel they can share with the pastor. They think I'll understand. After all, I'm the baker, and I know about everybody's problems. I never talk about what I hear. They are sure I'll keep their secrets.
When asked about visiting America they shake their heads, perhaps in twenty years, but now we could not leave the bakery. The people of the valley need us to much and there is no one to take our place for many days. This is a couple who lives by purpose - one that far exceeds running a bakery business or selling the max number of breads. It marks their marriage. It dominates their choices. It says much about their sense of significance in life.
"But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Phillipians 3:13,14
It's not just a job to Eric and I - it's our purpose to be a sanctuary to our community in the disguise of tearoom.