The Jewish Carpenter

A remarkable elderly lady in our congregation had a unique ministry.  Every week a guard ushered her into a visiting room where she would counsel, love and pray for women prisoners. She was a lady of steel out the outside and non-judgmental tenderness on the inside. She had a bumper sticker on her car that said, “I work for the Jewish carpenter.” Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, certainly placed the right woman in a job that suited her to a T.

I like the idea of working for the Jewish carpenter. It brings God’s divine will for me down to a level I can understand. I imagine Jesus in his shop, a sort of first century version of a tool belt around his waist. His hand holds a hammer and he is pointing it to something outside the shop. He gives me a task, explaining what he wants done through lips that hold nails in place while he talks.

Some weeks I cook food for some of his sick people; other days I bring clothes to the Salvation Army donation center or pray with a worried friend. I never know what he has in store for me on any day, but keeping that image of my boss in mind, keeps me from getting anxious.

When I’m running late, I remember he has my time card.

When I don’t think I’m up to the task, I remember he’s a call away.

When I screw up, he knows exactly what I’m trying to do and he’ll take care of it.

He has my back.

When I’m scared to death, I remember my retirement package.

He knows when I need a raise.

The best part about working for him is no applicant is ever turned away; no need for references or previous experience. Any employee can grow in his/her job by reading the employee manual called the Bible. He provides lots of free in-services on that manual.

I do know that when you work for the Jewish carpenter, he’ll keep you busier that a long tailed cat in a roomful of rockers. I’m busier now that I’m retired than when I worked for “the man.” Somehow I’m having way more fun too.


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