From the time our children are old enough to walk and talk, we teach them about jobs. We may not get too detailed at such a young age, but we subtly plant the idea of a career into their heads simply by picking out a Halloween costume. From the first grade on we are constantly asking them what they want to be when they grow up, and usually their answers line up with the costume they will pick out to wear that year.
I want to focus on a man from the Bible who was told what his profession would be before he even got the chance to decide for himself. James was Jesus’ half-brother. He was born of Jesus’ mother Mary, but his father was Joseph. Joseph was a carpenter, therefore his sons would be too. You see, back in those days a son took the trade of his father; it was a family business.
I want you to imagine Jesus and James as kids. Jesus was James’ older brother and I am sure James looked up to Him. I am sure he wanted to do everything just like Him, as many younger brothers do. I can imagine him following after Jesus to the barn to learn the tricks of the trade from Joseph. I can see them running down the street chasing after each other or playing ball in the back yard.
I can see them going on business trips together and working together to get each job done. For James, this may have been his whole life’s plan. His family were carpenters so he would be too. He did what he was told and taught to do.
It was not until Jesus started His ministry that things started to change in James’ life. All of a sudden his business partner was gone. The work of two men was suddenly down to one. I’m sure in James’ eyes, Jesus was not following the plan set out for them by their family or society. He was going rogue. On top of Jesus leaving the family business, He was going around and doing things that were set aside for those in religious power. I can imagine James getting wind of miracles Jesus had been preforming and questioning his brother. I can imagine that jealousy and a sense of being overshadowed were creeping in. Could this be why James was so skeptical of his brother being the Christ?
For not even his brothers believed in him. – John 7:5
But like many of us, once the story and the power of the resurrection came over him, his life was transformed. After Jesus’ resurrection He appeared to James, who finally believed in who his brother truly was. Because of this he too dropped the life his family was called to in carpentry and set out to be a witness for the Gospel, and most scholars agree that he was even appointed by God to write a book of the Bible.
What can parents take away from the life of James? That sometimes the life path our children start out on, the one that leads to a big 401(k), a good retirement, and many promotions is not always the path that God has laid out for them. Proverbs 22:6 says,
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Shouldn’t we simply train up our children to love the Lord without putting pressure on them to be any certain thing? Shouldn’t we simply teach them the ways of the Lord and trust that they will seek after the Father’s heart for their life’s calling?
How would you feel if your child chose to pursue their calling from God even if it didn’t fit the social norm or your expectations? I am sure that Joseph was put out when he realized that there was no one to carry on the family business. Instead they were carrying out Kingdom business, and is that not what we should want for all of our children? We should want our children to love the Lord so much that they will follow after Him no matter what.
As we go into this new school year, let’s focus on who God is and how we can teach our children to follow after His heart, then watch the transformation of their lives and futures unfold before our eyes.
- James, carpenter turned evangelist - August 22, 2017
- Faith Is Not Always Free - July 28, 2017
- Why Do Fathers Provide? - June 19, 2017
- A Mom’s Super Power - May 19, 2017
- The Tomb was Only Borrowed - April 16, 2017
- Loosen Up on the Leash - March 17, 2017
- Not My Heart But His Heart - February 15, 2017
- God Said to Stop Asking When - January 16, 2017
- The Real Reason for the Season - December 16, 2016
- How to Receive Joy From Giving Love to the Least of These - November 18, 2016