Flash back to Bible times with me; electricity hasn’t been discovered yet, mankind was still warring with swords and shields, and Steve Jobs hadn’t yet blown collective minds with his little iPhone. I’d like to think that, had I been around, I would have been a carpenter. I took two wood shop classes in high school, and really enjoyed myself. I built everything from a bedside table to a class-wide endeavor to build a backyard shed.
I always like it when I read that Joseph was a carpenter. I like to think about how he would have taught a young Jesus how to measure twice and cut once, how to use the tools of the trade, how to visualize the final product, and how to manage a project when parts don’t exactly go according to plan; even though the one he was teaching created the ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
I like that Jesus would have taken that knowledge out into the world, and he’s not the only one; Paul and his tent-maker friends spring to mind. However, had I been a carpenter back then, and had Jesus chosen to call me to follow him and the other disciples, I’m afraid I would have been really annoying.
We love the disciples; they are a window into what life was like walking and talking with Jesus himself in the flesh. However, the Bible knows that the disciples are humans just like the rest of us, and tells us that even they can screw it up sometimes. I’m seriously contemplating starting an organization called “We Are Peter” because that brother is so much like us it’s crazy!
So then, I know I hopefully would have fit in with those guys, but still probably confused at the strangeness of it all that this Rabbi would call me off of my great job as a carpenter to go and just…follow him around? I have skills man! I have brains, some brawn, and a hopefully quick wit about me, and we’re just gonna go around and…talk to people? Wait a minute Jesus, why are you about to touch that guy with the incurable disease? Don’t do that! You’ll get sick, and there’s no real medicine, and….and….wait, that guy just got better right in front of me….
Now, I love logistics. I love to watch things move through a process and see something go from start to finish. However, when something doesn’t go the way I’m expecting it to, I get scared. Case in point, I’m trying to get into a different car, my job’s industry is in the toilet, and I’m just trying to survive and take care of my family. Remember back to my disciple scenario, I have skills! …Right? I’ve got my expectations, and have no clue how a man from Galilee would be able to do the impossible, even though I’ve seen it everyday. I think my description in the Bible would have been “The Disciple who Annoyed Jesus.” Not the one he loved, the one who doubted him, or the one who betrayed him; the one who annoyed him. I would have constantly been over Jesus’ shoulder saying “no Jesus, we can’t do that, we don’t have all these things that I know we need to do this.”
The scene: (Matthew 14/Luke 9) 5000 people have come to see Jesus teach, and now they’re all hungry. Crap! How are we going to feed them all? Well, I guess we’ll have to send them home to eat, because we don’t have anything on us. What’s that Jesus? You really care about them, and you want us to feed them? Ok, how? I don’t see any food carts lining up. What do we have? Some loaves of bread and some fish, why? This won’t even feed the 13 of us! Allright, I’ll go tell these people to sit down in separate groups (I guess we’re breaking the news to them quietly that we don’t have any food).
Ok, they’re seated, now what? *hands me basket of food* Oh cool! Food! Where did you guys find this? Did someone from town bring it out? Hmm? No one’s been out all day? Then how……..wait……
Jesus’ world is so contrary to my brain’s way of thinking. I’m always saying, “No Jesus, we can’t do that, how on earth would you get me the resources to do this?” Then he gives my church the miraculous ability to build a brand new multi-million dollar church building right in front of me; and we give the disciples crap for “not getting it.”
I know every person is a work in progress, and I should be giving thanks every single second that God doesn’t strike me down in a tornado of lightning and sharks. I’m really trying to get it, don’t want my science brain to get in the way, because God’s way is not our way. He gives us everything we need, and then invites us to come discover more. I hope I can do that more each and every day.