What baby Jesus’s lack of vocation says about our own

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6a)

We’re in a four-week series exploring the vocations of some of the characters of Christmas. This morning, we come to the principal of the nativity scene: Jesus himself.

Now, you may be thinking, Hold up a minute, Jordan, this is a series on “Christmas Vocations” and Jesus didn’t yet have a vocation lying there in the manger. That is precisely what I want you and I to focus on today. 

While Jesus would one day hold vocations as a carpenter, preacher, and king, for the first years of his life he had no work. Instead, the Creator chose to be entirely dependent on the work of his creatures. Theologian J.I. Packer marveled at this truth saying that “the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.”

Do you see the absurdity of this scene? Jesus could have come into the world as a full-grown, independent man. But Christmas reminds us that he chose to rely on the work of a mother to clothe him, innkeepers to shelter him, educators to teach him, cooks to feed him, and a carpenter to train him.

And just as God chose to use human work to carry out his plans for his son two thousand years ago, he chooses to use human work to carry out his Son’s plans for the world today. Jesus promised to provide food, shelter, and clothes to those who “seek first his kingdom” (see Matthew 6:25-34). How is he doing that? Through the work of chefs, construction workers, and clothing retailers. Jesus said he came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). How is he doing that? By “making his appeal through us,” mere Christians who work alongside non-believers (see 2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

God could do all of this work on his own. But he chooses to do it through you and me. Which is why Paul calls us “God’s co-workers” (see 1 Corinthians 3:9). 

Your job isn’t just a job. It’s not just a path to income. It is nothing less than the medium through which God feeds, clothes, sustains, reconciles, and renews the world. Thank him for the privilege of inviting you to work with and for him this year!


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