Editor’s note: This article was originally posted here on Construction Citizen on December 24, 2015.
With last minute shopping and preparations for Christmas celebrations happening at this moment all over the country – and the planet – our team thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the reason for the season.
Each day, we work toward advancing a socially responsible, sustainable and value added construction industry. Through the help of our sponsors, contributing writers, and others we never stop pushing toward the goal of a more perfect industry. It often involves highlighting the struggles of the working man and woman who are doing all they can to take care of their families.
Those who work tirelessly on the monuments of our communities are the ones who deserve all the credit.
It is the story of so many people today just as it was the story of Joseph, Mary and their young son Jesus in a foreign land. We all know the story of Joseph as a carpenter teaching Jesus his craft.
There are many interpretations, of course, but it is interesting that there are various discussions online about exactly what kind of builder Jesus and his Earthly father really were. For example, this is found on a Christianity website I found this week:
Jesus' adopted father Joseph was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55 & Mark 6:3). The Greek word is Teckton which means builder. Now, some say he worked with wood; building tools, doors, shelves, tables etc. = carpenter. Others say because of the region and the resources were rock, and most everything was built from rock, then he built millstones, winepresses, houses, etc. = stonemason. There is no real evidence to clarify exactly what Joseph was a builder of, but we know that he was a Teckton = Builder. Now, in the Jewish culture of that time (1st century) it was required of the father to teach the son their trade at age 12, and find a wife for them around the age of 20. Joseph being a devout Jew would have adhered to this practice and would have begun teaching Jesus at 12 his trade of being a builder (Teckton).
This page from the same site offers additional explanation for the stonemason theory:
Given that Israel's buildings were constructed of stones and rocks, Jesus likely worked as a stonemason rather than a carpenter. He probably spent hours helping his father shape and cut stones.
This isn’t meant to start a debate about what kind of craftsmen Joseph and Jesus were, but instead to underscore the fact that they were indeed craftsmen. Builders.
Joseph, the carpenter, was a man accustomed to creating things of substance from raw materials. It naturally follows that he was the one tasked with the upbringing of the one Christians believe would be the savior of all mankind. Joseph’s faith certainly would have been critical as one of the traits that prepared him for the job. Jesus would later be known as, Acts 4 says, "the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone."
Patience, an eye toward the future, imagining what could be, and laying the groundwork for the future. These are the traits of the builders we write about every day.
Merry Christmas to you and yours and a Happy New Year.