“Look at you,” I said, “Joseph, the carpenter.”

“Do you know why I do this?” he asked me looking up from his logs and sticks.

“No, why?” I asked. As I was thinking of why someone might do this, in that moment I was surprised by his answer.

“I do this for God,” he said, with a little water in his eyes. “He gave me back my life, and so I do this is for him.”

His answer wasn’t cliched, nor was it said for any effect. It was one of those moments when the sincerity of the person, their honest core breaks through on you as a touching, moving, authentic force.

He looked down at the manger he was building for the Christmas Eve service at the church.

I felt suddenly as if in the presence of a sage.

“People say to me, ‘You did this and you did that'” he said, “but that’s not why I do this. It gives me a really simple, good feeling when I am here, working alone, doing this for God.

Colossians 3:23 came to mind, “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.”

In that moment I felt an odd but familiar feeling — realigned, brought back to focus, corrected.

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