Jesus the Carpenter

One of my most embarrassing weaknesses is my complete lack of mechanical ability. Changing light bulbs sometimes prove a challenge and anything beyond replacing a tire air cap on a car is a monumental feat. 

I consider some of my greatest accomplishments being replacing car batteries and a toilet seat. The day I changed a tire, with the help of YouTube and hours to waste, was akin to climbing a great peak. I am a librarian that is often outnumbered by women but still have had to refer to certain coworkers with heightened mechanical ability to solve problems with a disabled stapler or a cantankerous hole punch. Ask me who won the 1982 World Series or the difference between an Atom Bomb and a Hydrogen Bomb and I can be your Google substitute but ask me to build a bird house and I would be completely inept and laughable. If a Nailed It exists for handyman tasks then sign me up. 

Photo by Skitterphoto on

As someone who operates much more in their head rather than with their hands, I am sympathetic to those who would have the opposite problem. I recognize that I would have an advantage in understanding, for example, the connection the ancient Hebrews had with the early Christian church. I have a better grasp than some on the history, culture, political makeup, and spiritual heritage that leads to the early church and its ultimate spiritual significance. But, what does that teach me about living or blessing others or what works in society?

So, if Spiritual Formation, or what I like to call Growing Up, doesn’t come easy to you because you feel as if you are not wired like a Pastor or a monk or even a librarian, that is nothing to be ashamed of. Remember that Jesus was a carpenter and probably plied his trade as a carpenter longer than he spent teaching, healing, and spreading the Gospel. How did being a carpenter help Jesus form his ministry? What spiritual and leadership problems did he work out in his carpentry shop? What did his calloused hands have to show him about building a life that mattered and would withstand the storms of life?

One thing he learned was his teaching about the Kingdom of God was going to be the foundation for a good life. He once said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” He knew the value of a strong foundation, the reality of strong winds and shifting sand, and the wisdom it takes to make life work the way it should. He knew that he had the building blocks and the power to help people build a life that matters, that blesses others, and is strong enough for the worst that life can bring. Some have called Jesus the most intelligent person who ever lived and a great teacher but we can imagine that he was a pretty good carpenter too. And that helped him grow in wisdom and stature and find favor with God and man.

So if you are the opposite of me and can do great things with your hands and build and fix things then you possess a great gift. Not only are you incredibly useful but you share in Jesus’ experience of tangibly and physically turning nothing into something or repairing that which is broken into something that works and works well. Thank you for your valuable gift and embrace your strength as it teaches you more and more about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

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