But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
The most visited attraction in Barcelona is not a theme park or a soccer stadium. It’s an unfinished church that has been under construction for more than 135 years.
If you visit la Sagrada Família, you’ll instantly see why the church is so popular. For starters, it is truly awe-inspiring. But there’s a second reason why the church is such a draw. In an age that prioritizes speed over everything else, the pace at which la Sagrada Família is being built commands our attention.
We are used to seeing restaurants built in weeks, houses in months, and skyscrapers in just a few years. The idea of spending more than thirteen decades building a church is simply incomprehensible to most. It is that commitment to slow, masterful work that draws millions of people each year into a church that was intentionally designed to make the world stop and stare at great craftsmanship as a means of pointing us to the glory of God.
Before designing la Sagrada Família, Antoni Gaudí had already earned worldwide acclaim as a master architect. But in 1883, Gaudí began to catch a vision for la Sagrada Família, and the project started to monopolize his attention. A devout Christian, Gaudí envisioned a church that would visually tell a narrative of the life of Christ and quite literally “proclaim the excellencies” of God through its incredible scale and craftsmanship.
Gaudí became so convinced that architecting this church was his God-given calling, that for the last twelve years of his career he declined offers to take on any other projects so that he could focus intensely on mastering this one.
The result? Gaudí gave future generations the blueprints for what has become the most spectacular church in the world. As one well-traveled yet skeptical journalist said, “I passed through the door of the [church]—and almost at once, any doubts were expelled. It is the most astonishing space with immediate emotional punch.”
Whether you’re an architect, an entrepreneur, a pastor, or a marketer, achieving mastery of your craft is hard. Really hard. But is it worth it? Absolutely! Why? Because masterful work loves our neighbors as ourselves, opens up doors to share the gospel, and leads to the most sustainable satisfaction of vocation. But most importantly, as la Sagrada Família makes so vividly clear, masterful work captures the world’s attention and reveals the glory and character of the exceptional God we are called to reflect.