When Jesus’ family left Jerusalem for the second time they took Jesus with them. They heard his explanation for his absence but they didn’t understand it. He was involved in his father’s business he said but Joseph had no business in the temple. Mary took note of everything he did and gave them much thought. She knew how special he was and yet he was just a twelve year old Jewish boy who was learning a trade like his earthly father had done. It must have been difficult to see your son behave like any twelve year old one minute and then dumbfound you with his understanding and knowledge the next.
Twice in the same section of scripture Luke tells us that Jesus grew in body and mind. From birth to twelve years old he grew in wisdom, bodily strength and God’s grace was all over him. From twelve onwards we are told he grew in wisdom, age and was respected by God and men.
Sometimes we get the idea that you can’t do both. We may think that if we find favor in the eyes of men we will have to give up the blessings of God. At the same time we may feel that if we serve God and are found righteous in his eyes we will lose the respect of the world. Jesus provides an example of doing both. Living for God means that we have a character that finds acceptance with mankind. It means that men will find us honest, trustworthy, fair, happy, helpful, considerate, loving.
In spite of what we may think about the world around us, the traits mentioned above do find acceptance. Not participating in the language of the world or the activities of the world doesn’t mean a lack of respect. The world may not seek our company but they will admire “God within us.” As long as we can grow in age we can grow in favor with God and with man.