Jesus was a carpenter. Of course, everyone knows that! But it is what we say next that is most telling. Since then we usually make some theological point. For example, he makes us a light yoke or he planes us into a new shape.
The trouble is by dismissing his trade, we devalue his early life’s work.
Nevertheless, his years of toil with his hands is of huge importance to Christians today.
Why do I say that?
Well, we are living longer and are working longer. Hours worked are stretching out. To be honest, working is a much a matter of keeping food on the table nowadays as it was in centuries past.
Even retirement for many is not a life of leisure. Instead many commitments, family or otherwise, continue to require effort. Therefore, for most of us, the voyage of living needs constant and hard labour. In simple terms, like Christ, we all know a burden of effort.
So, let’s celebrate Jesus as a tradesman. Since that reminds us that Jesus was a worker as much as part of God’s plan as his teaching, preaching and healing. He was a carpenter through a calling just as to be the Messiah. In fact, his labour with his muscles was as much to bring in the kingdom as was striving with words, miracles and sacrifice. In essence, Jesus’ trade was as much his destiny as all that came later.
Therefore, we can draw huge strength from knowing that our work is our calling. Our ‘to-do’ list is our way of contributing to God’s will. Ultimately, our tasks in life are our vocation and ministry even destiny.