Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Carpentry, Too, Is The Work Of God

Ordinarily when we think of the Spirit of God flowing through Jesus, we think of Christ raising someone from the dead, turning water into wine, or healing a blind beggar by the side of the road.

Yes, these are dramatic examples of the Kingdom “actualized,” the Good News "incarnated," and the Kingdom “come.” Clearly, they are examples of "the work of God."

But have you ever stopped to consider that Jesus spent the majority of His days on earth doing work as a carpenter/stonemason? (Some scholars think He may have done both carpentry and stonemason work. Perhaps He was a general contractor.)

So here’s the big question: Did the Kingdom "come” through Christ during His carpentry years, too? When Jesus did carpentry, was He doing the work of God?

By His own testimony, Jesus only did what His Father showed Him to do (John 5:19). Was this the case during seventeen years of doing carpentry work in the little town of Nazareth?

We don’t know much about the life of Christ during His carpentry/stonemason years. But we do know two things: Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" in Nazareth (Luke 2:52), and He spent about six times more time doing carpentry/stonemason work than He did itinerant preacher/teacher work.

It is significant that when Jesus is 30 years old, at His baptism, God the Father audibly proclaims: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16-17).”

Think about this. Before Jesus heals a single person, or feeds 5,000, or preaches to multitudes, His Father is “well pleased” with Him.

The Father does not elaborate on what is so pleasing to Him. Certainly Christ’s character pleases Him. But I suspect He is also pleased with how Jesus spends His time and energy up to that point in life, reconciling carpentry with the will of His Father. For Jesus, carpentry, too, is the work of God.

Justin Martyr (2nd Century historian) claimed that plows made by Jesus were still in existence around the year 120 A.D. If so, Jesus must have done superior work.

But whether it was building houses or making plows, certainly Jesus found God's pleasure in His work, knowing He was doing what His Father showed Him to do: carpentry!

For me, this casts “the work of God” in refreshing light.

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  1. Whatever Jesus did, it obviously was "the work of God!" (He IS God!)

    Am I doing the work of God--i.e., what He wants done, when I change a diaper or mop the floor?

    Somehow, knowing it is something the Creator of the Universe wants done, and consciously doing it "for Him" takes the sting out of humble tasks.

    If we turn our nose up at humble tasks, or simply endure them, or feel bitterly about being expected to do them, how it takes the joy out of life. Knowing we're doing His will, and He is pleased, makes a huge difference.

    Come to think of it, once we realize we're working for the One who created butterflies, trees, mountains, people, stars and galaxies, our everyday tasks seem more like privileges.

  2. Well said! Thank you for your comment.

    I think asking ourselves the question, "Is the work I'm doing something that God actually wants done?" is a great way to make a connection between our work and our faith.

    If the answer is, "Yes," then it is a whole lot easier to do that work "unto Him," or "for Him," as it says in Col. 3:23.

    It makes a huge difference in how we approach our daily work when we can see that our work is work that God actually wants done in the earth.

    Yes, what God wants done in the earth today includes changing diapers and mopping floors. Rearing families is a critical part of the First Commission. And because it is, we are able to see that this,too, is the work of God.

    You obviously see it. Congratulations.

  3. Christian - Thanks for your "work" to honor the Father and build His Kingdom.

    Certainly Worldview matters! And our worldview starts leads us to decisions that determine which direction we take in the Ys on the road of life.

    And you're right - our worldview determines the way we think about everything, including the basic matters of work, rest, recreation and more. It's so nice to know that God too models all of these things that He created us to enjoy.

    I would state that a person cannot have a truly Christian worldview unless he/she is redeemed through the blood of Christ. Even under the curse of a fallen world the redeemed can enjoy much of life as God intended us to... because of grace and the knowledge of God.