“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” -(2 Thess. 3:10-13 NKJV)
Jesus probably spent most of His life working in His family’s carpentry business. We know almost nothing of His youth from adolescence until He began His public ministry at about age 30. But we know that His father was a carpenter (Matt. 13:55) and that Jesus also practiced the trade (Mark 6:3). Carpenters worked with wood, metal, and stone to produce furniture and farm implements, and constructed houses and public buildings.
Jesus may have continued His occupation even after He began to teach and travel. Rabbis (or teachers) of the day commonly spent anywhere from one-third to one-half of their time working (most likely with their hands) to provide for themselves. And while Jesus’ opponents, many of them rabbis, attacked Him on numerous grounds, they never accused Him of laziness or freeloading. Indeed, He was known to them as a carpenter.
That reputation passed on to the early church. Paul tells the Thessalonians that anyone who has an ability to work should do so. It is God’s mandate for every believer and is the place where we can best express the nature of God in everyday life.
Our work allows us to demonstrate integrity. Our work allows us to provide for our families and others in need. Our work allows us to often connect with non-believers. Our work allows us to live out His calling upon our lives. Our work allows us to experience His power in the midst of daily challenges. Our work can be a place of worship when we do it with a motive to glorify Him.
Today, view your work the way God views your work. It is your primary call.