Tradition and scripture indicate that Jesus spent the bulk of his life as a carpenter. Prison Fellowship’s Mark Earley wrote a few years ago about an amusing moment in the movie The Passion of the Christ:
The scene shows Jesus at work as a carpenter, finishing a table. His mother comes over to examine it. Her opinion? The table is too high.
Not to worry, Jesus responds; He’ll build tall chairs to go with it.
Mary is not convinced. As she walks away, she mutters, “It’ll never catch on.”
That scene playfully reminds us that part of Jesus’ mission consisted of work. In this case, his work was manual, and we forget that it was a service to people.
Justin Martyr, an early church leader, said in the second century that a common sight in Palestine was that of planters working behind plows Jesus had made when he was a carpenter. What an amazing thought—Jesus worked with his hands, and he cared greatly about the quality of his craftsmanship!
I don't know who coined the phrase “the splendor of the ordinary,” but I like it. It captures well Jesus’ view toward his daily work.
Does it capture our view?