My sons and I are building a small home. It is good to wake up early, work hard and go to sleep tired! Seeing the work accomplished at the end of a long day is good. The Bible says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands….” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). God sanctifies our work.
Mark 6 verse 3 describes Jesus as a carpenter. The word carpenter in Greek is a broad word. It means “one who makes or produces something.” It speaks of someone who works with wood. It can also describe a mason- a stone mason who built buildings. It is a lot like our English word “craftsman.”
Jesus spent most of His life in the small village of Nazareth. Undoubtedly, He was multifaceted. He probably did many things to earn a living. He probably worked with both wood and stone. After His step father Joseph died, Jesus was responsible to provide for his mother and siblings. Mark 6:3 says that Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters. As the oldest Son He was responsible to provide for the family. He worked hard to provide.
The church father, Justin Martyr, wrote about the year 150 AD. He was closely connected to the apostle John. He wrote, “When He (Jesus) was among men, He made plows and yokes and other implements.” This is a very powerful picture. For most of His life, Jesus worked as a manual laborer. He produced things for the good of others. He cut thick logs into planks. He worked with a plane and hammer. He knew the value of manual labor.
Ephesians chapter 6 verses 5 to 8 teaches three powerful lessons about work. First, our work matters to God. In these verses Jesus Christ is mentioned in all four verses. Verse 5 says, “As to Christ.” Verse 6 says, “As slaves of Christ.” Verse 7 says, “As to the Lord.” Verse 8 says, “You will receive back from the Lord.” Verse 9 says, “Their Master (Jesus) and yours is in heaven.”
God cares about your work. God has a great cosmic plan but ultimately He cares about our individual lives. God is running the universe but He is concerned about our individual work.
Second, our work should be done whole heartedly. Verse 6 says, “…not by way of eye service, as men pleasers but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Eye service is a word made up of two Greek words. It literally says “eye slave.”
An eye slave is a person who works only to catch the eye of his master. He is lazy but when the boss is around he works hard. The boss leaves and all work stops. We are to work with integrity and with our whole heart.
The third great lesson is that ultimately you work for God. Verses 6 and 7 say, “…doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” Imagine sitting in the church of Ephesus listening to these verses. Slaves often received the worst assignments. Some emptied and cleaned the chamber pots or honey buckets. Others had better positions- teachers and doctors. Paul says, “Whatever your task, you are working for God. Work as if Jesus Christ were your Boss because ultimately He is!”
Many bosses are not good bosses. A person works hard and the boss hardly notices. Some leaders take the profits and don’t share them with their fellow workers. God, however, is the perfect Boss. He rewards His workers perfectly. Verse 8 says, “..knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”
God is the One who rewards His workers perfectly. Earthly bosses will disappoint us. God always rewards perfectly.
The long days of an Alaskan summer provide many opportunities for work! Jesus worked as a carpenter but He was more than a carpenter. He went and died for our sins that we might be saved and live for Him. Let’s work as if God were watching because He is.
Pastor, Faith Bible Fellowship
Big Lake, AK