He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further. (Mark 6:1-3, The Message)
Going Out Of Business Sale! We see such signs so often that we don’t pay much attention to them (until it says “75-90% Off!”). But in an obscure dot on the map town like Nazareth, it was probably very noticeable. There on the corner of Jezreel Street and Cedars of Lebanon Lane was the Carpenter Shop. They always thought it would be there. His father ran it before him, as did his father. All assumed he would eventually get married (if Mary was any kind of a mother, he would) and his son would continue the family business. Need a new platter for Passover this year? Go to the Carpenter’s Shop. Chair broken because Uncle Jethro has a tendency to eat way too much charoset? Go to the Carpenter’s Shop. Need a new dining room suite? Well, you get the idea.
But then there is that sign: Going Out Of Business Sale! They wonder what could be more important than being a carpenter? But He knows! He knows his purpose is not to make oxen yokes, but to show humanity that His yoke is easy and his burden light. He knows his purpose is not to repair plow handles, but to show the world you don’t need to look back, but look forward to be a part of God’s Kingdom. He knew His purpose wasn’t to make dining room tables, but to build a table where all kinds of people are made to feel welcome, especially broken people; it is broken people who need the broken bread.
His purpose was not to make another platter for the roasted lamb at Passover, but to become the Passover Lamb and in one single act for all time and eternity to pay the penalty for our sin and folly. His purpose wasn’t found in the wood pile at the Carpenter’s Shop in Nazareth, but on two rough beams of wood on a hillside outside Jerusalem! He knew His purpose! And when he went to His home synagogue and those with whom He had lived with for nearly 30 years rejected His “new” vocation, He refused to give up.
And what about us? Have we “sold out” to an earthly purpose for living in order to embrace a Divine Purpose for life? Any vocation becomes a holy vocation when we do it with only one objective in mind: To make the love of Jesus known! Whether we are a cashier or construction worker, sales associate or security guard, a C.E.O. or a PTA Mom—each of us has the wonderful opportunity to make our vocations holy. It happens when we live our ordinary daily lives with the sense that God is with us and that He wants to use our ordinary life to express His love and grace in extraordinary ways. Go about your Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday and…) not with a sense of dread (Oh Lord, it’s Monday) but with the sense of power that comes from purpose.
Now go and love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!