Father’s Day…just a carpenter.

Now we all know the lineage of Joseph is a big deal.  It ties a definitive line from the Old Testament to the New Testament, gives validity to the Gospels by fulfilling prophesy, but in my youth (& also some of my adulthood) I never understood the importance of Joseph, was he just another person in the notch to get Jesus to the line of David?

The only thing I remember being asked in bible trivia about him is “What is Joseph’s profession?”  Joesph was a carpenter, this was the biggest life detail I was given.  And not knowing how being a carpenter would prepare you for being the father of the King of King’s I contacted my friend, who is a carpenter, to gain some perspective on how his profession affects his parenting here is the response:

1. Not unlike many professions, I’m constantly battling worry. Not sure if trades were the same in Joseph’s day, but carpentry is not typically a salaried gig, so it’s sometimes difficult to trust God’s provision. This has pressurized our family more than I’d like. Joseph likely dealt with that, but I’m sure many other professions have the same battle…it’s just so prevalent in the trades.

2. You work when you can, and it sometimes means less time with my loves during normal times. Jobs in carpentry are heavily dependent on timelines and other peoples schedules. So our weeks are filled with spontaneous visits to the shop, because dad needs some kisses. Long hours and weird hours make for the need to be intentional about the times when I’m home. That’s tough.

3. Coming out of a business-y job while in Texas, it has really allowed me to relate to a hard day of physical labor. It motivates me to teach my daughter about the trades and the joy of work and about gratitude for little things like a well made stool or door…it’s certainly affected my wife. She notices things now that she wouldn’t have noticed or appreciated when I wasn’t into woodworking. Carpentry makes me appreciate the beauty of trees and God’s brilliant creativity. I hope that’s an appreciation that has affected my wife and will affect my daughter.

I’m positive however, that the calling of pastoring and carpentry (as a need to support our family and relate to the working world and burnt out church folk here in town) has been less glamorous than it sounds. It’s hard to care for more than one passion. I’ve found my work outside the church to often be seen in Paul’s discussion of split desires regarding marriage/singleness. It’s easy to let one desire take over the other. Toss family into the mix (as you guys know better than we do) and you’ve got a consistent struggle to trust and be faithful.

So, my carpentry work, through, my eyes is a joy and a passion, but it’s effects on family probably aren’t much different than most working folks, other than I’m ALWAYS dirty and smell like stain!

And here is his wife’s response:

1. My husband has always been someone who sees something that needs fixing and immediately does so. A major blessing to a wife and momma. So, it’s been interesting to watch, for this has definitely continued even though his carpentry work keeps him very busy. But I do think he comes home from a long day of building for others and does not always have a desire to tackle our long list of to-dos that comes with purchasing a 100 year old home. So, he definitely still enjoys the thrill of checking off a to-do, but he may wait til the weekend to actually tackle it.

2. Which leads us to this second point. He (still) finds it energizing to create. For example, he woke up ready to tackle the rebuilding of our rather rundown front porch steps yesterday. And proceeded to spend the entirety of the morning and afternoon doing so. That is not my idea of fun or a way to rejuvenate after a long week, but there’s something in him that does find creating things in this capacity energizing. Amazing. And he loves to show our daughter what he’s working on/with. Makes it a point to let her look at his tools and touch the wood he’s working with. He’s a natural teacher. So special to watch them together in this at his shop.

3. So, with the second point comes my third. When his hours are all over the map for carpentry (and that, coupled with his roles as a pastor), he definitely makes a huge effort to be intentional with our family when he’s home. It’s not always easy, as sometimes he may get home as our daughter is getting ready for bed. He also knows how important it is for me to get special time just with him, which doesn’t always mean getting to go on a date, but he does try to orchestrate that for us, or at least turn his phone/computer off for a bit while we are together in the evenings so we get time together. He’s an absolute gem of a husband and “dadda”. We are still learning how to balance everything, but I guess that will always be a part of life.

And ditto his comments about smelling like sawdust and stain–a totally nauseating scent!

Joseph was a man of intention.  He listened to God immediately: marry Mary (Matthew 1:24), travel to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4), leave in the middle of the night on a long trek to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14).  From reading the responses above time is precious, and my friend is being an example of not wasting it for his child.  Joseph’s response to God’s calling in his life was immediate.  He did not hesitate to check with his friends & family, see what the housing market was like in Bethlehem, make sure there was a transfer available in his department, he went immediately.  Later in Jesus’ life He would call men to follow Him, immediately not when it was convenient. This was the kind of man His father was.

Fixing the details.  In carpentry details cannot be overlooked, the small cracks lead to the big ones.  The beauty is in the process not just the completion of a build.  Jesus spent so much of His ministry fixing the details of people’s lives: blindness, lameness, hunger, bleeding, demon possession, death, sickness, sadness.  He saw our human need while He was here on earth & gave us the gift of salvation, the completion of the plan. He was taught by His earthly father the beauty in creation.

Worry and love.  Father’s are filled with both.  Will I be able to provide for my family?  Will there will be work for next week, next month, next year?  Can I provide a future for my child?  Will the inheritance be enough?  Have I taught them all they need to know to succeed in this world?  To be safe? Kid’s see their parent’s struggle & worry. Even if we try to hide it they are smart & catch on.  Jesus’ ministry was a display of our Heavenly Father’s love for us, a reassurance that there will be enough, ‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you’ (John 14:2).  I think that He remembered His earthly Dad’s struggle & set reassurance upon reassurance that if you choose salvation this world is not the end, and do not let worry rob you of your joy.  Love, true constant, stand in the fire for you love.  Move you & your mother to a new country in the middle of the night love.  That is a father’s love- sacrificing whatever life had been made in Bethlehem to do what is best for his son.  Jesus in turn sacrificed His life for his children.

Happy Father’s Day!

At the dinnermesa,