Entering my twenties, I’ve faced loads of moments of uncertainty, specifically in regards to career paths in combination with my life’s purpose and ministry. I long to do fulfilling work that still pays the bills, yet I also don’t want to miss the mark in regards to the gifts and passions that the Lord has placed in me.
Sound familiar? Even far beyond our twenties, we’ve all had moments of, “what am I even doing with my life?” or, “what’s the point of this job?”
Perhaps you’re struggling to enjoy your work, fighting for a lifelong dream, or simply sick of going through the motions.
I’ve tried on so many different hats in the past few years, and begged Jesus to just give me a clear, mapped out picture as to what I’m supposed to be doing, or what my end goal should be. What’s my purpose? My life’s ministry? How is what I’m doing now getting me there?
I’m a planner by nature, so when the Lord graciously doesn’t reveal the fullness of His plans on me like a ton of bricks, I have a difficult time seeing how it’s for my own good. I struggle to enjoy the winding journey and the many paths I’ll take along the way.
Lately however, the Lord has been putting it on my heart to explore and learn more about who Jesus was in the years before His official ministry began. I was extremely surprised at what the little information I could find revealed to me.
What the Bible tells us about Jesus’ young life
Rather than jumping straight to Google, I chose to comb through the Gospel and see if there were any passages that gave a clear explicit description of Jesus’ life, specifically within the window of after His infamous birth, and before the start of his ministry at the age of 30.
I was surprised to find that there really wasn’t much said at all. It seems as though there’s a large gap of life that is nearly entirely unaccounted for.
After the story of His birth, we really only see one other peek into His young life before His ministry in Luke chapter 2, when Jesus was the age of 12.
Visiting the temple in Jerusalem with His parents, Jesus actually stayed behind for 4 days without His parents knowledge (parents, can you imagine?!) to ask questions and listen to the teachers. It is written that He had a deep understanding of the teachings as well as wisdom that surpassed His age.
Other than that, we really don’t know much else about how Jesus was spending those first 30 years of life.
We all know He was the son of Joseph, a carpenter, meaning He likely was trained as a worksman as well. Carpenters were considered lower to middle class, so they weren’t necessarily a wealthy family open to opportunities.
I can’t help but wonder what was Jesus feeling while He was working daily at a job that may not have clearly been preparing Him for His all-important ministry. Carpentry work seems like the last thing you’d expect the Son of God to be doing for the majority of His time on Earth, and yet He was doing just that.
Living the dream?
I feel a lot of pressure to be “living the dream” so to speak. Perhaps it’s the influence of social media and the #lovemyjobs that I don’t always relate to, or maybe it’s the crave for a purpose-filled life in collaboration with the Lord that I want to begin sooner rather than later.
So imagine what a relief it’s been to realise that Jesus himself went through the majority of His life, doing seemingly average, menial work. Carpentry really doesn’t seem like a natural stepping stone into His ministry!
I initially asked why wasn’t Jesus born into a wealthy family that would’ve allowed Him to spend His time studying in the temple rather than learning an average trade from His father? Wouldn’t His rather short time on Earth be best spent gaining a highly regarded reputation during those years so that the start of His ministry wouldn’t be so controversial?
Looking at it now, I see His life’s journey only reassures us of Jesus’ humanity. I feel as though He’s able to empathise with us as we struggle through day to day work, and set an example for us when we’re in situations where we don’t seem to be on the path we desire to be.
I can’t imagine that Jesus was grumbling through His work, putting in half an effort as He impatiently waited for His “real” work to begin someday. Instead, I imagine that Jesus did all He did to the best of His ability. I see Him as dependable, and hardworking just as He was once He was able to begin His ministry.
We can take comfort in seasons of work where we feel as though we’re not moving to where we believe we should be.
So, no matter the season you’re currently experiencing in life in regards to career and ministry, I encourage you to think about Jesus.
Not necessarily the Jesus with a large crowd following Him or walking on water, but rather the Jesus who poured years and years into working at something that may not have seemed to relate to His ministry. The Jesus who I can imagine praying and talking to the Father as He built and crafted. The Jesus who did all things unto the Lord.
Miranda Menelaws is a Canadian freelance writer. During her spare time, she can be found travelling the globe in search of a new story to tell, or writing about her adventures on her blog.
Miranda Menelaws’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/miranda-menelaws.html