Often the mundane days of our lives tell us lies. They seem to shout how insignificant we are, because all we do seems so small. Jesus’ childhood days in Galilee, near Sepphoris, turn those lies upside down.
When Jesus, Joseph, and Mary left Egypt after Herod the Great’s death around 4 BC, they settled back in Nazareth, in Herod Antipas’s territory of Galilee. Antipas set about rebuilding the capital city of Sepphoris, and he hired local artisans as laborers.
The gospels refer both to Joseph and Jesus as “carpenters,” from the Greek word, tekton, a worker of wood and stone. Since this was the same time that Jesus’ family returned to Nazareth, it’s very possible that Joseph (and eventually Jesus) would have worked to build Sepphoris, since Nazareth was only about 4 miles from Sepphoris—an hour’s walk.
But even if Jesus did have a hand in helping to build this beautiful city, still—doesn’t it seem a huge waste of His gifts?
The answer to that question speaks volumes to our own lives.
The city turned out beautifully. The historian Josephus described Sepphoris as “the ornament of all Galilee.” Some of its greatest remains are its preserved mosaics, including a Roman villa’s dining room with a large mosaic with one-and-a-half million stones in at least 28 colors.
The most famous section includes a woman called, “The Mona Lisa of Galilee.”
What had Jesus been doing all those silent years growing up in Nazareth? He labored as a carpenter—a worker in wood and stone. Talk about untapped potential!
Seems a huge waste of time. On the contrary.
Over the course of three and a half decades the Father prepared Jesus for a ministry of three and a half years. Jesus grew up with a hammer in one hand and a scroll in the other—learning the Word of God. Those years were an essential time of preparation.
Jesus wasn’t the only one to experience preparation years, was He? In Scripture we see many individuals—such as Joseph, Ruth, David, Daniel, Esther, and Matthias— people who faithfully lived in obscurity before God expanded their influence. In each case, God alone gave the promotion. He alone got the glory.
When we think nothing important is happening to us, these biblical lives remind us that just the opposite is true. Faithfulness in obscurity today puts us in a place of greater influence for God tomorrow. But it happens in God’s time.
God knows our character will scale. Jesus said it this way:
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. (Luke 16:10)
For us, the best solution often seems the quickest one. But with God, the best time comes “at the proper time” (1 Pet. 5:6).
What God wants for us in life requires more than our abilities, giftedness, or our education. It requires character.
Sometimes we might find it necessary to set our full potential on the shelf for a while and focus on other parts of God’s will for our lives—like character. In fact, the setting-aside season can foster such significant personal growth that it may make our abilities even more effective when God finally opens the door for their use.
When our hearts feel a pull toward the big things everyone sees, we need to remember Jesus. The Lord takes more interest in the little things only He sees.
Little things reveal the heart—the platform of true success. In whatever obscure place we find ourselves today, we can be sure of this: God is with us, and He is working to develop our character in the little things.
We may call it obscurity. God calls it opportunity. The blessing of obscurity comes with a huge fan base.
We have an audience of One—God. And He is applauding.
Tell me what you think: What part of your life are you trying to stay faithful in the little things? To leave a comment, just click here.