Did Jesus Work?

Mark 6:3 – “…Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?…”

We tend to think of Jesus’ life on earth largely in terms of His ministry – preaching sermons, casting out demons, performing miracles, and getting pestered by religious neatniks. Scholars believe that Jesus lived roughly 33 years on the earth and spent around three years doing ministry. That means about 90% of Jesus’ earthly life was spent NOT doing vocational ministry. What then was He doing? Working a job to pay his bills. 

Our God works. The opening pages of Genesis reveal God working in six days and taking a day off to Sabbath. When Genesis says that God “created”, it is the same Hebrew word used elsewhere in the Old Testament for people working their jobs. God’s people have always followed this pattern, as commanded throughout the Scriptures. 

Since Christ worked, you simply cannot be like Christ if you won’t work. To be sure, our work can be paid like a dad who goes to his job or unpaid like his wife who stays home to raise the kids – but work is worship for the Christian. Colossians 3:23–25 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Because our God rules and reigns over all, there is no such thing as sacred and secular, as is common in many other religions. In the Bible, a long list of honorable professions is named among God’s people – carpentry, tent making, fishing, medicine, teaching, farming, politics, metal work, music, investing, labor, construction, law, consulting, cooking, architecture, athletics, entertainment, banking, military, real estate, clothing, mothering, sales, etc. are all affirmed as God-honoring labors in the Scriptures.

In the next devos, we will look at work among Christians historically and in Paul’s day.

To learn more about what the Bible says about work, look up the following Scriptures: Proverbs 22:9; Ecclesiastes 2:24; John 5:17, 36; Ephesians 2:8-10.

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