During adolescence, we were all asked at one time or another, what we wanted to be when we grew up. Back when I was in school, the two most popular answers were always a doctor and a lawyer. At that time, these professions represented the epitome of success for most of my classmates. But today, the allure of celebrity and the fascination with technology has made our children more likely to aspire toward careers in the entertainment and digital industries. Times have definitely changed. However, what has remained the same is the unflattering stigma associated with certain blue-collar professions.
For me, growing up as a Winans meant I set my sights on becoming a singer early on. But, some of my classmates had other career aspirations in mind. I can remember my friend Brandis wanted to be a gymnast and one of our fellow classmates, Robert, stated he wanted to be a carpenter. At that time, the class immediately erupted into laughter because no one in the class considered the job of a carpenter one to be desired. I must admit it was somewhat humorous at the time. But now that I am older, I can recall that particular episode in a more spiritual light.
The job of a carpenter is actually a profession that we should hold in a high esteem. There is nothing more profound than the ability to build or create something from nothing. This thought brought me straight back to the Word of God. There are several leaders in the Bible who utilized carpentry at major points in their lives. Consider Noah. He had to know a thing or two about carpentry, or how else could he have managed to build the Ark? And then I think about Solomon: a man who must’ve had some knowledge of carpentry as well or he could have never constructed God’s Temple. And then I’m reminded of my Savior, Jesus; the son of a carpenter.
The more I thought about this profession the more parallels I saw between an earthly carpenter and a spiritual carpenter. For instance, an earthly carpenter may use his axe to chop wood or sheet rock, but the spiritual carpenter would use his axe to cut away useless habits, negative relationships, and everything else that keeps him from growing closer to God. In order to round off placements for doorknobs, ceiling fans, and light fixtures, the earthly carpenter relies upon his compass. The spiritual carpenter depends on a compass as well, but he uses it to draw circles around his passions and desires to keep them within the bounds of righteousness. The earthly carpenter uses his hammer to pound in nails and to pry out damaged uneven screws, while the spiritual carpenter uses his metaphorical “hammer” to pound in the Word, driving home the message until it is a part of his daily life.
In essence, we should all be carpenters!
As believers, we should be focused on kingdom building daily. An earthy carpenter is a builder. He uses his skills to provide the framework for every physical structure. But, the spiritual carpenter is a builder too. Only his expertise provides the framework for the true Temple of God which is found in the hearts and minds of all God’s children. People like me, you, and Robert too!