February 24, 2016

God’s People at Work: Jesus

Matthew 13:53-57

Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?

—  Matthew 13:55

Very little is said about Jesus’ life before he began his teaching ministry. Our reading for today is one of two places in the New Testament where we are told that Jesus worked as a carpenter or builder before beginning his ministry. It’s clear from Matthew’s gospel that the crowds weren’t quite sure what to make of Jesus. Here he was teaching and preaching in ways that astounded the audience, but that wasn’t the Jesus they were familiar with. For years they had watched Jesus hammer nails into wood, lay stone foundations for buildings, and perhaps craft toys or furniture.

Have you ever reflected on what it means that Jesus was a blue-collar worker for many years before beginning to preach and teach? Imagine—Jesus took on human flesh and got up each morning to go to work, just like so many of us. The same person who formed the universe picked up a saw and chisel to cut and mold timber. He who shaped iron ore deep in the ground hoisted stones to make buildings.

Jesus affirms the dignity and ­value of human work. Work is not evil, and it’s not beneath God’s concern.

Because Jesus sees the value in coveralls and hammers, we too can approach our work each day as an exercise of service to God, using the skills and abilities he has given us.

Lord Jesus, we wonder what it must have been like for you to spend so many years in the working world. Thank you for showing by your work how our work is worthy. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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