June 23, 2017
"Is not this the carpenter?" (Mark 6:3a, ESV).
Jesus spent 18 years as a carpenter. He spent three years as a preacher. In other words, the Savior of the world invested six times more of His life sawing lumber, hammering nails, planning boards, making cabinets and sweeping sawdust than He spent preaching, teaching and healing. This is astounding. Frankly, if I had been advising Jesus about "time management," I would have urged Him to be a bit more discerning in how best to use His time!
Think about those 18 years Jesus spent in the carpenter shop. Now, let me ask a few questions:
- Were those years of manual labor wasted?
- Was He less spiritual when He was making a cabinet than when He was preaching as sermon?
- When Jesus made a table, did it wobble? When He made a yoke, did it chafe?
- Did Jesus enjoy His work in the shop or was He impatient to leave it?
- Did He love the smell of freshly cut wood?
- Did He love to talk about the difference between the grain of acacia wood and cedar?
- When He created furniture, did He have flashbacks to when He created the Milky Way?
- Did He ever smash His thumb with a hammer? If He did, did He want to cuss?
- Did He sweat and get dirt under His fingernails?
- How did He respond when a customer was late paying this bill?
- Did He ever feel the pressure and stress of deadlines?
- When He hammered nails into wood, did He wonder what it would feel like to have those nails hammered into His hands and feet?
- Was His heavenly Father as pleased with a well-made cabinet as with a well-crafted sermon?
We make a grave mistake when we try to divide our lives into those activities that are secular and those that are sacred. The incarnational teaches us that all of life belongs to God and everything we do should be a sacrifice of praise. Some people think that Martin Luther came up with the idea of the priesthood of all believers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Luther did not invent the concept; he simply rediscovered what had long been forgotten.
One person who discovered the dignity of ordinary work was Brother Lawrence. Living in the 17th century, this humble cook in a monastery discovered that he could worship God as much in his kitchen as in the sanctuary.
I possess God as peacefully in the bustle of my kitchen, where sometimes several people are asking me for different things at the same time, as I do upon my knees before the Holy Sacrament . . . . I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God. When it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and worship my God, who gave me the grace to make it, after which I arise happier than a king. (The Practice of the Presence of God)
The Church has allowed work and religion to become separate departments . . . She has forgotten that the secular vocation is sacred. Dorothy Sayers
Point to Ponder: Do you worship as much on Monday as you do on Sunday?