It is Good Friday and I am a Youth Minister, so this post will be more about my day job than my hobby. I am not sure if this an appropriate use of these blogs or not. If not, this will be my only post of this nature.
I read this bumper sticker a while ago and it really stuck with me. I initially laughed at the phrase “My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter”, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a great point to reflect on. On Good Friday I am forced to consider the humanity of my Jesus. I mean he was definitely Jewish and he was some sort of trades person (Carpenter is the most popular translation of that word but some people believe he was likely a stone mason). Regardless of which vocation occupied his hours, he spent less than 10% of his life in formal ministry and 90% of his time on earth… working a blue collar job.
I like to look at these unwritten stories in the bible and see what other parts of the bible tell us about the gaps that God has left us. So imagine for a second the year 29 A.D. John the Baptist has stumbled out of the desert. He has abandoned all his earthly belongings (which would have included a sizeable inheritance and a prestigeous position in the church/political leadership) and lived only to serve God. He spent every waking hour preaching the Good News, Baptizing and calling for repentance and true belief. At exactly the same time, not far away, Jesus was building a table for the Goldblooms. Who was doing God’s work?
If we are going to use earthly standards to evaluate thier lives, it would seem that John was doing the work of God, and Jesus seemed to be just putting in time. But if we believe that Jesus is God, then everything He did was the work of God and if we believe that He was perfect, then we believe that it was the perfect will of God that He do that work. So is it possible that our time in the workshop is meant to be part of our ministry on earth and that if we approach it as Jesus did, it could be part of God’s perfect will for our lives? (please no angry letters from spouses who already feel like workshop widows, We are all called to honour our covenents above all other comittments)
I am not suggesting that your only labour should be making crosses to be mailed to orphanages, what I am wondering is how God filled 90% of His time in the workshop and still minister to the world. I know at age 33 He loved the world enough to die for us, so I don’t think at age 27 or 28 He was disinterested in what was happening around Him. If He still loved the world around Him that much, what did that ministry look like while he held a day job?
Honestly, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But on the day we remember his physical suffering, I am also reminded that He probably hit his thumb with a hammer a few times too. Somehow just doing the work He was supposed to do was exactly what God wanted from Him. The work set out for Him to do was done fully, done with purpose and done with conviction. That work included an appointment with the executioner, but it probably also included tables and door frames. All of this work was the work of God. All of it was part of His ministry to the world.
In my life, I am constantly surprised how often I get chances to share my faith in areas of my life that have little to do with my day job. Things like discovering woodworking led me to lumberjocks. I don’t want to betray trust, but as a result of my previous blogs, so many of you have emailed me with your stories and shared what God is doing in your lives. It appears that making wooden toys is the work of God. Judging from some of your stories, cabinet making is the work of God. Pumping gas is the work of God, driving a dump truck is the work of God and accounting is the work of God.
I want to encourage all of us to see our jobs as work ministries. As chances to do the work of God. What is the work of God? Mother Teresa of Calcutta suggests that the work of God is simply “to love and be loved”. If we have the courage to do that with the same completeness, purpose and conviction as our Lord, it does not matter what title the earth attaches to our jobs, we can be sure that the heavenly title is “good and faithful servant, in whom I am well pleased”.
John 6:28 ” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the work God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.