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The Boy Who Did His Best

Luke 2:40, 52; Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 7:15; The Desire of Ages, pp. 68–74, 84-92


The Message

As I do my best in learning, I can serve others.

Memory Verse

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Dad, Dad, look!” Malik held up his newly finished model plane. “Oh, you did a great job, son,” his dad replied. “Looks like you really did your best. I am so proud of you.” The boy Jesus was learning every day to do His best. We don’t know what it was like back then, but it may have been something like this.


Joseph put his tools on the workbench in the carpenter shop. He stretched his arms. The smell of wood shavings perfumed the air. Tiny dust particles danced in the sunlight that streamed through the windows. Joseph glanced over to where Jesus was working with His tools. Even though He was still a boy, Jesus was becoming a good carpenter.

Jesus looked up from his work and caught Joseph watching Him. “I think it’s done,” Jesus said with a smile. He rubbed His fingers over the wood of the stool Joseph had given Him to smooth and sand.

Joseph joined Jesus at the workbench. He looked at the smooth, clean lines. He ran his fingers over the wood, feeling for any rough or uneven spots. It was perfect. “You’ve done well,” Joseph replied. “Anyone would be proud to own this.”

“I did My best,” Jesus humbly replied. Joseph nodded proudly. Jesus always did His best.

“God can use us, Son, when we do our best for Him,“ Joseph whispered.

Jesus did not answer. His thoughts may have been miles away at the Temple in Jerusalem. At age 12 Jesus had visited there. Since then, He kept thinking about the Passover lamb He saw. He knew that He Himself would someday be the real Passover Lamb. But for now Jesus was serving God by doing His best in the carpenter shop and by learning.

“Learn everything you can,” Joseph often told Jesus. “That way You will be ready to serve the world when God shows You His plan.”

Joseph smiled at Jesus. “I think we should quit for today,” he announced with a smile. Carefully he lifted the stool down from the bench and leaned it against the wall.

“Thank you, Father,” Jesus answered, and began putting His tools away. Quickly He gathered the wood chips and put them in a basket. He would take them home to be used in the cooking fire.

Joseph and Jesus walked home together. Jesus enjoyed spending time with His father. He liked learning to be a good carpenter. Jesus’ mother was also His teacher. She taught Him to read and study the Scriptures.

Jesus and His mother often prayed to His Father in heaven. What a good student He was! When He grew up, people were amazed at His knowledge (see John 7:15). Like Jesus, we serve when we are learning to do our best.