Back when I was in the eighth grade, one of the required courses we had to take was Wood Shop, – 7th grade was Metal Shop, and 8th grade was Wood Shop. One of the projects we had to make during the year in Wood Shop was a birdhouse. And so, I cut the wood to its specifications, hammered the nails, stained and painted the wood, did everything to make that the best birdhouse I could. I brought it home, -- and not even the birds would move in. It’s almost as if they just stood outside of it and said, “You first.” Here I am over 40 years later, and I am still a terrible carpenter.
I wish I had the skills that so many of you have. Now, some of you have helped me, but I have supervised you by basically holding the tools for you. Truthfully, I have learned to do a lot of things, and going on mission trips to do home repairs has helped a great deal. One thing I do know is that there is satisfaction in a job well done. In the garage of our homes, you can see firsthand what you made, and you can stand there in admiration saying, “Look at what I did!” It’s a great feeling.
Jesus had that feeling all the time. Jesus was the carpenter from Nazareth. While I doubt Jesus had a garage to work out of, I bet he had a shop from which he made furniture and others items. He had the materials, the tools, and the skills.
My friends, you and I are made in the image of a Creator God, and only by working and using our skills, gifts, and talents, -- do we find our true identity. In fact, when you meet someone at a party, what is one of the first things you ask that person? Do you ask, “What color is your dog?” Instead, you ask them, “What do you do?” And if they respond, “Well, what do I do? Well, one of the things I do is I eat Cheerios for breakfast.” You begin to wonder if they’re wired to code. When you ask them what they do, you expect them to say what they do for work, and what they do for a living. And then, you peg them accordingly. If they say, “I am an engineer, you can assume they’re well paid, that they are wearing a plastic pocket protector inside their lab coat, and that you probably shouldn’t ask them any more questions because you wouldn’t understand it anyway. The point is this, God has called you to your place of work, and it is in that place that you are to serve God.
When my alarm clock goes off at 6:00 this Sunday morning, that will be God’s way of saying, “All right Hartman! Time to get up! Time to rise and shine! Time to get over to the church and whip those Presbyterians into shape!” God has called me to serve him in this way, and God has called you to serve him in your unique way.
Please join us for worship this Sunday, as we discuss further our work as a calling. You can join us at either 8:00 am or 10:30 am in person, or at 10:30 am via Zoom, Facebook Live, and Youtube.