Faith at Work XLVII
“Like Father, like Son” goes the old saying and there is a lot in it: when Jesus was with his disciples for their last night together before being tried and put to death, he said: “If you know me, you will know my Father also.” [John 14:7] Though they may have been a little mystified at the time, he was clearly hoping that he had reached the point at which he could hand over his ministry and mission to them.
Early on in life, we learn a great deal from our parents. They are there for us and more often than not enjoy the challenge of bringing up their offspring; in our turn, at least when we look back on our childhood, I hope most of us would be able to acknowledge the debt that we owe our parents for leading by example, passing on their experience of life and teaching us how we might realise our potential. Sometimes, there is a family business to grow into and we learn our trade as apprentice to our Father. When we are able to share in running the business, we may become recognised as a partner; “& Son” may get added to our trading name.
When Jesus had been left behind at the age of twelve after the festival at Jerusalem, he expresses the same intent when his parents return to find “him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” On being scolded for not staying with his family, he wonders why they had not realised: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?'' [Luke 2:46,49]
In the commercial world, business and skills are often learnt in a similar way, through apprenticeships. One of the consequences of the decline in manufacturing in this country is that there are fewer opportunities for engineering apprenticeships today. However, I am pleased to say that they still have apprentices at GKN in Telford, where I am chaplain. If you have ever been across to Ironbridge to admire the working replica of the 1804 steam locomotive built by Trevithick, you will have seen the work of their predecessors, one of the very first steam engines to be used for transport applications.
One of the aspects of productive work that we may wish to think about is that it is creative. We may well feel fulfilled when we have made something or performed a useful task for someone. God, we are told in Genesis, looked over the work that he had done each day and “saw that it was good” [e.g. Gen.1:10]. As we emulate him at our work or in whatever we do, we pray that we may be able to say the same:
His praise will be always on my tongue.
Whatever the work of the day,
in it shall I find my God.
This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2008-05-31