Dec7WedDecember 7, 2016
There are a few places in the Bible which are difficult for me to read because they feel…pointless.
Of course, I know and believe that every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is useful for teaching, correction and encouragement. However, some of us feel this way when we read the passages of genealogy, Levitical law, or (for me) the measurements and materials for building the tabernacle in Exodus 38. I would much rather read a list of names or cultural laws than read about how many cubits of linen were used to make the Israeli tent of worship. So, I confess my arrogance, ask the Lord for help, and keep digging into His inspired word for guidance. Without doing that, I would not know who Bezalel and Oholiab were!
Exodus 38 tells us that they made and designed the elements needed for the tabernacle. They were the project managers to carry out God’s design. Yet, if you go back to Exodus 31, we learn that the Lord filled them with the Spirit of God “with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting and in carving wood, to work in every craft” (Exodus 31:3-4).
In this rather mundane section of Scripture, we discover a very important lesson. Wood carving, painting, jewelry making and other artistic work are God-given gifts which can be used to impact people for generations to come!
Within the church, it can be very easy for us to elevate certain talents above others – in part because we think of church as an 'event' which takes place in an auditorium with a stage. Certainly, there is a need for people to use their gifts to lead, accompany and teach in the context of corporate worship. However, that moment does not define every part of life within the living body of believers.
We need to be reminded of this because sometimes our gifts can feel very mundane when we compare them to other, more public gifts. Yet, what would the church body be like if there were not people who were gifted in cooking, sewing, painting, building, organizing, technology, writing, remembering names or listening? Without these kinds of specific gifts, the church would only be an event – not a community.
Authentic spiritual community is formed when everyone humbly uses their gifts, even if it feels insignificant. Cooking a meal, listening to a friend, fixing a wall, or writing a note can make an eternal difference when done for the glory of God.
As you observe the variety of material gifts which are bought and given during this Christmas season, consider the abundance of gifts which God has given to you. Are there new ways that God may lead you to use them to minister to those in need, in our congregation or in our community? Who knows? God may use your handiwork to impact generations to come! Afterall, the Holy Spirit wants us to remember Bezalel and Oholiab for that very reason.