Sweat runs down his dirty face. There is nothing divine about it, just human sweat, the immediate product of human toil. A contract had been made and must now be honored by the craftsman’s skill and his sweat. Shops, generally, are not comfort zones. They are hot, noisy stalls where work gets done with little thought given to the comfort of the worker. Productivity is the guiding principle.
Look beyond the sweat on the craftsman’s face; look at his hands. There is the main product of his endeavors. Something is taking shape beneath his skillful fingers. From worthless bits of material he is fashioning something useful; order out of chaos. Soon the contract will be fulfilled, the sweat forgotten in the joy of creation.
Who is the craftsman described above? The King, of course. It is no accident that Jesus spent most of His life as a carpenter. In this he identifies with us. We are craftsmen, too. Not carpenters, perhaps, but craftsmen nonetheless. We all make things; salesmen make sales; homemakers make homes; teachers make scholars; students make grades; repairmen make repairs; CEO’s make salaries; on and on it could go. Wherever our “shop” may be located, whatever the product, we can do that work as unto the Lord.
The Bible tells us to in what I call the Colossians Credo:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,…work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…
Your “spiritual” work is not just what you do at church. The Lord longs to make your workplace a sanctuary, a dwelling place for Him by His Spirit. He can do that because you do your work as praise and worship unto the King. He has promised to inhabit it and to be enthroned upon it. And, He can make your shop a sanctuary because He has had His own.
And He still has in His own shop. It is called the church. He is in the business of taking broken lives and putting them back together again. When we worship, His skillful fingers are at work, shaping us into His own image.
Psalm 139:13-18 NKJV
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Colossians 3:17;23-24 NIV
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Song of the Craftsman
Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated
Text: Henri A.C. Malan; Music: Lowell Mason
1. Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in endless praise.
2. Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3. Take my voice and let me sing, Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.
4.Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5. Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.
6.Take my love, my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.
© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved