Summary: Jesus dignified work. Work is part of God's plan to bless us, bring us joy, and glorify God.
Everyone knows that Jesus was a carpenter. But where in the Bible does it say that?
Mark 6:1-3 Is this not the carpenter?
Not a priest. Not a merchant. Didn’t study at the university. Not a professional, like a lawyer or doctor. Not in government. A craftsman, he had callused hands.
It doesn’t seem that carpentry experience added much to Jesus’ resume.
* What do we do with the fact that Jesus was a lowly craftsman for the bulk of his career on earth?
* How can we redeem the fact that, as Christians, most of us spend the bulk of our days in the secular workplace, often in lowly trades, attending to mundane details?
* What role should our religious experience have in our secular work?
* What meaning should our secular work have to us?
Let’s turn to the Bible and try to answer these questions.
1) God Works
a) in creation Genesis 2:2
i) God is a worker. Most of us don’t view God this way but that’s how He first reveals Himself in Scripture. Genesis 1:1 states that God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 2:2 calls this activity “work”: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all his work.”
ii) God found joy and satisfaction in his Work
(1) Genesis 1:9,18,21,25,31 And saw it that is was good. Satisfaction and joy.
b) every day - keeps everything running. Sustains life.
i) John 5:17 My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.
2) God gave mankind work to do
a) Not only is God a worker, but we are workers as well.
i) Genesis 1:27 He created us in His image
(1) Like our creator, who works
ii) gave us work to do.
(1) Genesis 1:26 says that man is to “rule over” the creation.
(2) Genesis 2:5 no man to till the ground
(3) Genesis 2:15 states that Adam was placed in the garden to “work it and take care of it.” I should point out that this work was given to Adam before the fall. God planted the garden and man cultivated it. This was a partnership that continues today. God gives to us and we manage what we’ve been given.
b) But wasn’t work cursed?
(1) Because of sin, ground cursed, not work.
(2) Made work harder, painful, less efficient.
(a) Haying, last field, full of thistles. By then, gloves were wearing out, knees of pants were thin.
c) Commanded us to work
i) Exodus 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
(1) If God commanded it, it must be a good thing.
ii) Ephesians. 2:10. "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
d) Desire of Ages, p. 72 God appointed work as a blessing, and only the diligent worker finds the true glory and joy of life.
3) Jesus dignified work
a) What do with the fact that Jesus worked as a lowly craftsman?
b) Ilustration: Our first house in Washington state needed some foundation repairs. We didn’t have a basement, just a crawlspace with about 18” clearance. I decided to do it myself.
i) The first step was to dig trenches for the footings. I had to lie on my stomach in the crawlspace, and shovel the dirt in front of me into a pan, so I could crawl with the pan to the edge of the house and empty it. Over and over again. Like a mole, but much less adapted.
I thought, is there any more humble labor?
One day I was just laying there in the semi-darkness, on the soft dirt, with the spiders and whatnot, and wondered what trade Jesus might have if He lived on earth today. Carpenter perhaps, or a plumber, drywaller, a handyman, maybe someone who poured foundations for houses.
He forged a tie of sympathy with every one of us. I am not called to do any labor that Jesus would not have done.
ii) Jesus was not demeaned by his humble occupation. Instead, he gave it dignity.
c) Desire of Ages p.74 “His (Jesus’) work began in consecrating the lowly trade of the craftsmen who toil for their daily bread. He was doing God’s service just as much when laboring at the carpenter’s bench as when working miracles for the multitude.”
4) As unto the Lord
a) How then shall we work?
b) Colossians 3:22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.