CHRIST, The Man of Work


Our Lord Jesus Christ him self gave prominence to the truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God himself, his Creator. At Jesus many of his first listeners in Nazareth were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? Is not this the carpenter? Jesus did not only proclaim the word of eternal wisdom that had been entrusted to him, but first and foremost he fulfilled the gospel by his deeds. Jesus’ gospel is the “gospel of work” because he who proclaimed it was himself a man of work, a craftsman like Joseph. Our Lord Jesus belongs to the working world. He has appreciation and respect for human work. It can be said that our Lord Jesus looks with love upon human work and the different forms that it takes. Jesus sees in each one of these forms of work a particular expression of the fact that man has been created in the likeness of God, the Creator and Father. We find in his word a special command to work. Jesus’ prohibition against too much anxiety about work and life should not be misconstrued as Jesus discouraging us from working. Is it not Jesus who said: “My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1)? In various ways Jesus puts into his teaching the fundamental truth about work which is already expressed in the whole tradition of the Old Testament, beginning with the book of Genesis.

The books of the Old Testament contain many references to human work and to the individual professions exercised by man. For instance, the doctor (Sir. 38:1-3), the pharmacist (Sir. 38:4-8), the craftsman or artist (Ex. 31:1-5; Sir. 38:27), the blacksmith (Gen. 4:22;Is.44:12)—we could apply these words to today’s workers – the potter (Jer. 18:3-4; Sir.38:29- 30), the farmer (Gen. 9:20; Is. 5:1-2); the scholar (Eccles.12:9-12; Sir. 38:1- 8), the sailor (Psalm 107:23-30; Wis. 14:2-3a), the builder, the musician, the shepherd, and the fisherman. In the parables on the Kingdom of God , Jesus Christ constantly refers to human works: that of the shepherd, the farmer, the doctor, the sower, the householder, the servant, the steward, the fisherman, the merchant, the labourer. He also speaks of the various form of women’s work. He refers to works of scholar too.