Just another mundane Monday. Jesus Christ, the carpenter from Nazareth, understands — and he knows how to help us find joy and peace in tedious work.
Much of our lives includes ordinary work and chores. We all have to do tedious things that don’t excite us — at work, around the house or in running errands. It’s easy to complain. Just grind through the day, frustrated or bored. Feeling insignificant.
This was my temptation on my mundane Monday.
To keep from grumping along today, I picked up a special prayer rock. It’s piece of the outdoor theater in Sephorris, Israel, where I helped to lead a pilgrimage to “Walk Where Jesus Walked.”
Jesus may have helped to build this marvelous stone theatre where the “play actors” (same word as “hypocrite” in the Bible) performed. Sephorris is just a few miles over the hill from the village of Nazareth where Jesus grew up. Maybe it was Jesus’ experience with the theatre that led him to use that word to describe the problem of putting on a mask to impress God and others?
Our Blue Collar Savior
As I’ve held my rock today, I’ve thought about Jesus working hour after hour as a carpenter or a stone cutter. (The Greek word “tekton” can be translated as stonecutter. There’s lots of stone in Israel, but not much wood.) The Son of God was tucked away in a small, obscure village working with his hands, living with his family and neighbors, learning from the Father, and waiting for when it was time for him to launch his public ministry that would change the world forever!
It’s important to meditate on these quiet, humble years in Jesus’ life. Why? Because we experience them.
So I’ve thinking about my “Blue Collar Savior” smiling as he serves hard to please customers and blessing them when they complain. Imagine Jesus on his hands and knees putting small tiles in place to build a beautiful and intricate mosaic on the floor of a wealthy person’s home. (You can see some of these mosaics in the excavated ruins of ancient Sephorris today.) Probably Jesus loaned out his tools and sometimes they were damaged or not returned, but still he was generous. It’s easy to think of him meditating on Scripture, praying to the Father, and singing cheerfully while he worked.
We don’t know for sure exactly what Jesus’ life was like in those hidden years. But we do know that for most of his life on earth he worked an ordinary job in an obscure village, learning the law, growing in grace, loving God and his neighbors, praying and playing with his Father, day after day. (Luke 2:40, 52) He dignified menial work.
And we know that Jesus could work your job or my job. He could live in your life or mine and be happy and fruitful because he’d bring himself and all his activity into the Kingdom of God.
You Are the Disciple Jesus Loves!
Today, Jesus is helping me to appreciate his presence in my midst as I do many ordinary tasks. I am reminded that Christ is the source of my identity. In the words of the Apostle John: “I am the disciple Jesus loves!” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
This is the Gospel for you too: “YOU are the disciple Jesus loves!” Could there be any greater cause for rejoicing than that? What a joy it is to connect with Jesus and learn from him as we do what we do — even on a mundane Monday!
My book Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke: Rhythms of Grace to De-Stress and Live Empowered elaborates on what we can glean from Jesus’ hidden years as a carpenter or stonecutter. (See “Just a Tekton” which starts on p. 111.)