Many times we can feel worn down by our daily lives, which can become quite cyclical and repetitive from time to time. The tediousness of the daily task may cause us to ask, “Is this what God wanted me to do? How is what I’m doing worth anything? How can any substantial good come out of such a seemingly insignificant task?” In these seemingly dull periods of life, we cannot forget that Jesus Himself also experienced the same day-to-day repetition. But despite the simplicity of His life, it certainly was not devoid of any value or meaning. Rather, the working Christ teaches us where our true value lies, and He opens our eyes to the great spiritual harvest that can be reaped in the simple tasks of the day.
The New Testament records the final three years of Jesus’s earthly life, which is the time of His public ministry, as well as His Birth/early childhood. Aside from these two points, the Gospel writers did not record much of the life of Jesus. We know from Luke 3:23 that Jesus was about thirty years old when “He began his work,” referring to His public ministry. This leaves the previous thirty years of His life relatively undocumented. What was Jesus Christ, the one Person who is full Man and full God, doing on this Earth for nearly three decades? Another passage in the Bible alludes to what Christ was likely spending most of His time doing. Mark 6:3 recollects the people of His hometown, Nazareth, saying about Him, “Is not this the carpenter?” Jesus was known in His town not for being a great teacher or popular person, but as a carpenter.
Carpentry, whether carpentry for construction, furniture, or smaller objects, was a hard and technical occupation that required strength, skill, and no small amount of devotion and attention. Lumber has to be straight, cut and shaved in the right direction, and smooth so as to not splinter. The stresses and wear that the wood would undergo when in use had to be accounted for so that the product would last and be durable. Can you imagine how much time it took for Jesus to acquire the skills and knowledge to be a good carpenter? Indeed He is God, and therefore already knows everything, even the exact number of iron atoms in His tools. But, being the wonderfully loving God that He is, willingly partook in our humanity, and so it would make sense to conclude that He learned the same way as we do, through study, much practice, and repetition. Even if carpentry was easy for Jesus to learn, whether due to His Humanity, Divinity, or both, He still partook in the day-to-day tasks that His work asked of Him.
Christ’s work as a carpenter is a silent but deep and intimate display of His love for us. That God would spend three decades of His earthly life performing the daily tasks that we humans are all too familiar with only further shows how much He desires to share in our lives and be with us. He did not have to experience the tiring grind of daily work, He did not need to answer to the chores and tasks of the day as we do, but He did. Indeed, He came to free us from sin through His Death and Resurrection; Why? So that we could be united with Him. God’s desire to be with us is so great that He choose to live as we live. He so desired for us to be one with Him that He became one of us.
We must remember that we need not be alone in our labors and in the tedious tasks of day-to-day life. Jesus Himself took on the works of daily life because He so greatly desired to partake in our lives. He waits for us to invite Him into our daily tasks and work, and fill our days with His grace and fill our hearts with His love. Christ’s work also shows us that our value as people is not due to our work, how much we produce, or how influential we are. Jesus was God, and no matter how many times He sawed through wood or nailed beams together, He was no less God because of it. His value was not dependent on His work, but on who He was, namely, the Son of God. This humility of Christ not only helps to remind us that there is no work that is below us, but also that no matter what our work calls us to do we are the Children of God, who has loved us so much He partook even in the most simple of things to be with us.
Author- Eric Smoorenburg
Born in California and raised in Colorado, Eric Smoorenburg is a mechanical engineering student. He was a Totus Tuus teacher for the Archdiocese of Denver. He was Homeschooled through the Seton Home Study program and has an AS from the Community College of Aurora. Eric likes to write and go hiking in his free time.