Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Son Of A Carpenter

An occupation of humbleness

It was another great summer at camp. Today's post comes from a lesson taught to me by a camper at Shiloh. We were in bible class talking about the story of David and Bathsheba. At the end of every class me and my co-teacher, Bree, always ask the kids to tell us one thing they learned from the story. This particular morning a child had learned and I quote, "Power can change you."

It was a statement so profound that at first it went right over my head. I ask the child if he could better help me understand his comment. He went on to explain how becoming a powerful king had changed David. The child remembered the beginning of David's story when he was just a simple shepherd taking care of the sheep and seeking to do what God wanted and then made the connection that neither me or Bree ever realized. The child saw that it was when David became a powerful king that he committed his terrible sins. It was when David became king that he took Bathsheba and committed adultery. It was when David became king that he tried to cover his sin by getting Uriah drunk. It was when David became king that he had Uriah and other soldiers sent to the front lines to be murdered. The lesson the child taught me is one I will never forget. From a humble shepherd to a corrupt king, power does indeed change you.

In the days that followed that class I began to see that lesson in the life of Jesus. Where would expect the Son of God to be born? The common expectation was most likely some great palace filled with servants and a throne of gold. But as God tends to do, God did the complete opposite of what the people expected. The King of kings, the Lord of lords was not to be born in the grand palace, but in a dirty barn and placed in a filthy feeding box. Jesus was not sent to the live the privileged life of royalty, but sent to live a life of poverty. Jesus was not sent to be served, but to serve. Jesus was not sent to be the son of a corrupt earthly king, but to the son of a humble carpenter.

What if the life of Jesus went the same as David's life? What if Jesus started out a a humble carpenter and then ascended to the ranks of royalty? Would Jesus have been changed by the power that corrupted David? I happen to think so. By the grace of God, Jesus chose to forsake any claim to secular rule. He chose to deny himself the privilege of the palace. Jesus did not want to merely sympathize with the poor from on high, but to empathize with them down low. Because when you are the son of a carpenter you don't get three meals a day. In fact, when you are the son of carpenter you have to work to eat what little you can afford. I believe there were nights when Jesus was a child that he went to bed hungry. When you are the son of a carpenter your family has a hard time paying all the bills. There are very few luxuries to being the son of a carpenter.

When will we learn the lesson the child of Shiloh has already learned? When will we stop trying to climb the ladder of upward mobility? When will we stop grabbing at the reins of power? When will we turn our concern for the poor from sympathy to empathy?

Was the birth and life of Jesus an accident? I think not. It was a purposeful proclamation to the world that the kingdom of God was the kingdom not of the wealthy. The birth and life of Jesus was for all to see and know that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. The kingdom belongs not the C.E.O.s of the world, it belongs to the single mothers of the world who decide everyday whether to pay the electric bill or feed the children. The kingdom belongs not to those in corrupt political offices, it belongs to those who work a minimum wage job and then go to the grocery to have their bread and milk taxed. The kingdom does not belong to prep school, ivy-league bound high school student who has only known privilege and success, it belongs to the at-risk student who has only known struggle and failure. The kingdom does not belong to the son of Caeser, it belongs to the son of a carpenter.


Coming Next Week: The Exodus of Public Education


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP