At Home in Any Profession

We should understand that Jesus would be perfectly at home in any professional context where good work is being done today. He would, of course, be a constant rebuke to all the proud self-advancement and the contemptuous treatment of others that go on in professional circles. In this as in other respects, our professions are aching for his presence. If we truly see him as the premier thinker of the human race – and who else would be that? – then we are also in position to honor him as the most knowledgeable person in our field, whatever that may be, and to ask his cooperation and assistance with everything we have to do. – Dallas Willard, The Great Omission

Commercial real estate, nurse, valet, plumber, attorney, etc.

The list is endless; professions that make up our society. To some extent we have all been trained for our professions. Many professions require continuing education or further study to advance in a chosen career path. The wise seek out mentoring and alternative paths to gaining knowledge of their craft at an accelerated rate. But how many of us view Jesus as the most knowledgeable person about our profession?

Surely many of us have asked God for guidance in life and career. We have prayed for blessings in the work that we do. And how many times have we said, “Lord, we give it all up to you!” then went to work worrying about what the day holds [and worse yet, leaving God in the parking ramp altogether]? We so quickly look to God with the troubles of our life, and rightly so for he is a great comforter, and heap upon him thanksgiving when all is going well, which is his due as the author of all that is good! But how often do you truly look to God for advice and knowledge at work? The Father is the author and creator of the cosmos, the Spirit is God’s presence and power living and moving in this world and Jesus is God in flesh – a carpenter, rabbi, thinker, leader, preacher, friend and brother. Leaving aside the former, let’s focus on the latter, Jesus.

Due to the nature of the Gospels we know little of Jesus’ life outside of his birth, a quick story of childhood and his ministry. The glaring absence of further details concerning his adult life lead one to believe it was extremely normal. Normal, like you and me kind of normal. Jesus woke up, tied his sandals, picked up his tools and went to work. He lived the daily grind as much as anyone, though probably with a better attitude. This directs us to the fact that Jesus understands work and career. This matters if we take seriously the claim of Jesus being the greatest thinker the earth has ever seen. I believe we often do not go to God with the details and questions of our work because we do not think he cares, relates or is qualified to provide us with knowledge and guidance.

Any worthwhile exposition of Scripture will most certainly lead one to understand Jesus certainly cares about the entirety of you, work included. We must not forget that Jesus was also a carpenter and rabbi. He understood the day-in day-out needs of being both a worker and leader in industry. He worked with his hands and with his mind. In no way then can Jesus not relate to us as people of work. That must mean then that to most of us, our greatest obstacle to looking to Jesus, God, with our work is that we do not think him qualified. After all, Jesus was a carpenter and rabbi. Maybe he has expertise in wood working and teaching, but what does he know of being a nurse? Realtor? Lawyer?

This is a fair question, but a misplaced question. Leaving aside his deity, who today would not eagerly seek out guidance in their work from the preeminent thinker and ethicist of the day? Or someone who so finally tuned their own craft that they are a guide for others looking to do the same? Or a highly respected leader within your community? Even forgetting his divinity, Jesus represents the type of person we all seek to have coffee with as we know one nugget of truth they share will greatly impact the work we do. Now add into this Jesus as the living son of God and we can rest assured that even if our occupation didn’t exist during his time on earth, he has surely become accustomed to it now [tongue in cheek]. His wisdom, expertise, and leadership are not limited to just one field because he knows all fields and is their source!

If Jesus is the greatest thinker the earth has ever seen… If Jesus does truly care about, relate to and is qualified to speak to our work… If Jesus is the living son of God, eager to be there for all other aspects of your life… Perhaps it is time we make larger our view of Him. We should view Jesus as our greatest source of knowledge for the work we do, for surely Jesus is at home in any profession.

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