He learned to work with his hands by watching the work of his father’s hands.
Learning a trade from a father was essential. A tradition of following in a father’s footsteps. And so this young man obeys.
In the humble beginning of his apprenticeship, he is learning from his father to carve out the design of the wood, to slide his hands across the wood and feel the grain, and to carry stacks of wood.
Still a young lad and learning his trade, he needs the direction of his father’s callused hands to guide his unskilled hands, which now need a little rest.
Stepping away from the carpenter’s bench, he walks outside the shop to take a break from his work and stretch his back.
Standing in the warm, noon sun, he picks at another of the daily splinters in his hands, as the rhythm of the hammer pounds in the background. Extending his arms toward the sky, he says a prayer of thanksgiving to God the Father.
He breathes in fresh air to rid his nostrils of sawdust. First shaking his head to dislodge more sawdust tangled in his hair, he then removes his sandals and shakes out the wood shavings.*
This was the young Jesus. Working for His father. Working side-by-side with Joseph, He gained the knowledge of the carpentry work as His father taught and guided Him.
What did He learn? To sand down rough edges. To chisel away unwanted parts. To submit to the father’s instructions, being attentive to his voice. To mimic his every move. To take raw material and shape it into something beautiful or useful. To tackle even the menial task of sweeping out the remnants of the shavings and sawdust.
He learned a servant’s attitude and attained obedience. While in His earthly body, He experienced all that we mortals encounter in our life’s work, knowing the frustrations and exhaustion, the aches and pains, the heartaches and joys, the griefs and comfort.
Hebrews tells us Jesus came to earth “for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed…We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.” (Heb. 2:16-18 Msg, Heb. 4:15 Msg)
But do we learn the same things Jesus did when the Father teaches and guides us? Do we…
*learn the work of the Father?
*listen attentively to His voice?
*sand down rough edges of our hearts?
*chisel away the unwanted parts of worldliness?
*submit to the Father’s instructions?
*mimic His every move?
*sweep out the remnants of filth from our lives?
*take what is given us and shape it into something beautiful or useful?
Only when we learn to have a servant’s attitude can we learn obedience.
And when we learn as Jesus did, we can work for the Father as well.
*From the story The Scent of the Wood