Friday, October 17, 2014
When we think of Jesus, we usually think of Him preaching to thousands, healing people, and dying for the sins of the world. But Jesus spent the majority of His days doing carpentry work. Certainly He was helping Joseph full time by the age of 13, and continued doing carpentry work until 30. Jesus worked at least six times longer as a carpenter than as an itinerant teacher and miracle worker.
We don’t know much about the life of Christ during His carpentry years, but we do know this: Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" during that time (Luke 2:52). This is a remarkable statement.
By Christ's own testimony, He only did what His Father showed Him to do (John 5:19). The question is, when did this arrangement begin? Did it just start when Jesus was baptized at the age of 30? Or was this the case during His carpentry years too?
When Jesus was baptized, His Father proclaimed: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16-17).” This was before Jesus healed anyone, and before He called a single disciple.
Certainly Christ’s character and obedience were pleasing to the Father. But I suspect the Father was also pleased with what Jesus had done with His time up to that point, and how He spent His daily energy, doing what His Father showed Him to do: carpentry. For Jesus, this, too, was the work of God.
Jesus did not struggle with a "sacred-secular split." There is no doubt in my mind that Christ modeled what it means to govern over wood. I do not believe He would have grown in favor with the folks of Nazareth had He done shoddy carpentry work. Justin Martyr, the 2nd century historian, wrote that plows made by Jesus and Joseph were used in his day. If this is so, Jesus and Joseph must have done superior work!
Imagine what would happen if all followers of Christ engaged in their daily work as the work of God. It would turn the world upside down--again.
If that's too big to wrap your mind around, just think about turning your own office, shop, or kitchen around. Do your work as the work of God for just one hour. And then another. And another. It starts in your head.