Yes, You Need to Be Able to Fix and Build Stuff

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Jesus was a carpenter. Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fisherman. Paul was a pharisee who had to repent, and he began making tents. If you’re too smart to work, you’re too dumb to teach. The Bible is incomprehensible to the man who doesn’t know how to manipulate the material, unrighteous, world.

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?

Servants. Masters. Farmers. Vinedressers. Fishermen. Plowmen. Oxen. Donkey. Deer. These are the words of the Bible. There are–in the Bible–no parables, metaphors, or allegories for instruction for us to be like the righteous philosopher or the worthy wordsmith.


11 thoughts on “Yes, You Need to Be Able to Fix and Build Stuff

  1. In my mid-50s I am in the process of a career change away from my particular engineering discipline to its related trade. Some of the motivations:

    a) get away from the soul-sucking paper-pushing desk job at which I’m overpaid and underworked;
    b) train my sons and work alongside them (daughters too, if inclined, who can also participate in a family business on the admin side);
    c) become a producer and employer rather than a wage earner;
    d) have something (the family bidness) to leave as a legacy.

  2. This is connected to an attitude problem I’ve been having lately with professional clergy. It’s nothing that hasn’t been discussed before – the schoolboy to university to seminary to paid church staff model – but I increasingly note the gap between this and the way most of the men in the church have arrived at whatever is their station in life.

    Pastors and priests are holding forth on how men ought to live. When they draw directly from the Bible and don’t opine over much this is fine, but many of them do inject their own material and on what basis do they and the men of the congregation relate to each other then?

    I do want my pastors and priests to be well schooled in formal theological matters before they start instructing me, but I also find it hard to relate to a man that has not really been in the trenches, like I imagine I have been along with the other men at church. I don’t know how you get both. I can be unreasonable in my demands.

    I’ve personally known some of the pastors and priests I’m making reference to, and Dalrock has introduced me to many more of what I think of as celebrity pastors; and a lot of what these professional clergy come up with absolutely does not resonate. (I know some of them lived like the rest of us before becoming pastors, but I believe that is a minority).

    Among the most effective pastors I’ve known personally is a man that ran his own carpet installation business for ten years before entering seminary, another that worked a variety of trades and raised his family on a no electricity farm in Illinois before studying to preach; and a third that put in an Army career before beginning to pastor. These are the men that stick in my mind when I think of Christian role models. Men related to them on a different level than they did with the pure academics.

    I wonder if there was a specific reason that Jesus and the men remarked upon in the OP worked at tasks just like ordinary men?

  3. Yeah, there’s definitely nothing in the Bible urging men to cling to wisdom and seek her out, to pursue knowledge, to learn and read the scriptures… oh wait… 😉

  4. @djz

    Of course those are good things, and if a person works with his hands he might even begin to get an understanding of their goodness, and how to use them.

  5. Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    God is the Father, and the Creator, and we bear His image. We are most like God when we procreate, and when we build something with our own two hands.

    How do we subdue, and exercise dominion over nature? By taking natural, physical things, and making something good and useful out of them. That’s why it feels so great to make something useful, because that’s what we were created to do.

    The two best pastors I’ve ever known were…
    1. A former construction worker, and general contractor, who never went to seminary, but was mentored by an older pastor…
    2. An Army chaplain who’d been an enlisted Marine before attending college.

    As Cane has noted before, too many pastors are mama’s boys. Another problem is that so many pastors have no clue how the real world works because they’ve never lived in it. They’re almost as bad as college professors in that respect.

  6. In the process of converting to Orthodoxy, I learned that almost all Orthodox bishops come from the ranks of monks, with only a very few coming from widowed parish priests. I was initially apprehensive about that. Later, I learned more about how Orthodox monks live, which usually involves working with ones hands and keeping animals. That allayed my apprehensions.

  7. Matthew was a tax collector.

    But setting aside the notion of it being a requirement, I think there is certainly a benefit to working with your hands at some point in your life. It keeps one tied to the physical and the real, rather than getting lost in abstracts.

  8. Francis Asbury was a blacksmith, John Bunyan was a Tinker, Rees Howells left school at age 12 and became a coal miner, Dwight Moody was a shoe salesman.

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