For the greater part of thirty years, Jesus lived and worked in Nazareth. Isaiah 53:2 testifies that there was nothing flashy about Jesus. Later, when He went back to minister in His hometown, they could not get over the fact He was Mary’s boy (Mark 6:1–3). Apparently He woke up to His daily grind every day for 30 years!
By the age of twelve, He had gained an awareness of His special mission in life (Luke 2:49). Yet, at that time He returned to Nazareth with His parents to a life of apparent insignificance (Luke 2:51). He woke up to do His chores every morning, ate what everyone else was eating, and slept in no special bed. When the time came, He took up His father Joseph’s trade—the work that lay nearest to Him.
As remarkable as His three and a half years of ministry were, the fact that Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15) must resonate with the reality of the mundane thirty years of His life prior to His public ministry. If laziness is a sin, then we can be sure that Jesus was diligent—not a day did He lie tossing and turning in bed because He was just feeling lazy (cf. Prov. 26:14). If gluttony is a sin, then Jesus never overate (cf. Prov. 23:21). What is more, you could never find Jesus overindulging while others were in need (cf. Ezek. 16:49).
In the little things, Jesus was faithful through His entire life (Luke 16:10). When no one was watching, He gave His best effort as a carpenter. In the obscurity of a small town and the anonymity of a lowly birth, He always did “those things that please” God (John 8:29). When the lights went out, Jesus’ character of faithfulness to God shone bright irrespective of the specific task He was engaged in.
Ellen White puts it this way:
Jesus, in His thirty years of seclusion at Nazareth, toiled and rested, ate and slept, from week to week and from year to year, the same as His humble contemporaries. He called no attention to Himself as a marked personage; yet He was the world’s Redeemer, the adored of angels, doing, all the time, His Father’s work, living out a lesson that should remain for humanity to copy to the end of time.
This essential lesson of contented industry in the necessary duties of life, however humble, is yet to be learned by the greater portion of Christ’s followers. If there is no human eye to criticize our work, nor voice to praise or blame, it should be done just as well as if the Infinite One Himself were personally to inspect it. We should be as faithful in the minor details of our business as we would in the larger affairs of life (Child Guidance, 359).