As a teenager Richard Foster spent a summer among the Eskimo people of Kotzebue, Alaska. It impressed Richard that the Eskimo Christians have "a deep sense of the wholeness of life, with no break between their prayer and their work." Richard went to Alaska on the adventure of helping to "build the first high school above the Arctic Circle." The work, however, was far from an adventure. It was hard, often backbreaking. One day he was trying to dig a trench for a sewer line, which was no easy task in the frozen tundra. An Eskimo man, whose face and hands displayed the leathery toughness of many winters, came by and watched him for a while. After some time passed the man spoke simply and profoundly. "You are digging a ditch to the glory of God," he said.

The words stuck with Richard. Beyond his Eskimo friend, no human being ever knew or cared whether he dug that ditch well or poorly. In time that ditch would be covered up and forgotten. But because of that man's words, Richard says, "I dug with all my might, for every shovelful of dirt was a prayer to God." Richard made the discovery that everything we do, whether great or small, we do for the glory of God.