There was a period in Jesus’ life when he worked as a young carpenter. This was after visiting the temple with his parents at age twelve (Luke 2:42) and before beginning his public ministry at age thirty (Luke 3:23).
We only have a few details about these years, but the Bible does tell us this much in Luke 2:52:
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Jesus used his early work years to do more than labor as a carpenter. While working at his trade, Jesus submitted to his Father and his Father shaped and blessed him. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature according to his Father’s will while working as a carpenter.
All Christians can grow in wisdom and stature, i.e., become more like Jesus, through their workplace experiences.
In reality, most on-the-job issues are basic life issues, such as: success or failure, pride or humility, peace or turmoil, forgiveness or resentment, faith or fear etc. What better way to experience Christianity in action than through your work-life? God can touch and change you just as profoundly from Monday through Friday in the workplace as he can on Sunday in church.
If any person could have been exempted from work, it would have been Jesus. He is the King of Kings, yet he worked in his community like the rest of us. Why? Jesus did this to affirm the importance of human work. Jesus worked as an example for you to follow.
In Mark 6:3 when Jesus went back to preach in his hometown of Nazareth at the beginning of his public ministry, his former neighbors asked, “Isn’t this the carpenter?” Jesus’ neighbors didn’t ask, “Isn’t this the theologian, or priest, or scholar? No, they remembered Jesus by his occupation.
Jesus had the image and reputation of a working man. He was God incarnate but they only saw the “carpenter.”
Many in the workplace only see you through the lens of your job when, in fact, you are bringing the presence Christ with you wherever you go.
First Corinthians 3:16 says it well: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” God is doing his work in you while you are doing your work in the world.
Don’t buy into the false premise that your faith has little relevance to your job. This separation of faith and work is a man-made concept. Bringing God to work is the best career decision you will ever make.
The centrality of Christ encompasses all things and this includes your daily labor.