Good morning my friends,
I want to continue with yesterday’s thought as we look at the end of today’s reading. Moses has just given instructions to Israel. They are not of his own thinking but are the direct command of God. Israel is to be a separate people, set aside for the purposes of God, to be a nation of priests who represent him to the world. Then they are told that the community needs things like gold and silver, materials such as fabric and wood. Here there is no command. Here there must be a willingness to give:
“Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses' presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD. (Exodus 35:20-22)
The only sacrifice and offering that is acceptable to the Lord is that which is given freely and cheerfully. That is what we touched on during Sunday’s teaching. We are never forced to serve our God. We are not forced to give. In fact, if we offer ourselves and our possessions with reluctance our God does not want them. He wants a generous and cheerful people to bring what their hearts compel them to bring. Now consider this:
Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers. (Exodus 35:30-35)
This picks up from yesterday’s thought. There are a few words I want you to consider: “the LORD has chosen”, “he has filled him”, the Spirit, skill, ability, knowledge, “in all kinds of crafts”, to make, to cut, to set, to work, to engage, “the ability to teach”. Do not think for a moment that creativity is not a skill. In fact, it is a skill given and ordained by God. It is a gift. But it goes beyond the actual doing. Along with the ability to do God has also ordained some to teach. This is directly from the LORD just as he has ordained some to preach, to heal, to prophecy. Those who have the ability to work with their hands, to mould materials into beautiful things, who are able to draw, paint, create, who see patterns and designs in the world around them and who can recreate these for others to enjoy, have a special calling. They are wrong to ignore it or think it is not worth much. What such things are worth are beyond measure.
If these craftsmen and artist do not step forward into their calling then how will such things be passed on? We are not all called to such things yet we all have some desire to craft things with our hands. We are not all skilled but we all enjoy doing it. Those anointed by God have the ability to teach us how to be better at it. We need to be taught. How will we ever know if the “greats” still walk among us if they refuse what they have been called to? We need them. We need them to walk in faith, to trust that the LORD will look after them as he looks after the preachers and evangelists. They need to see their calling to be just as important because our God speaks with more than just words. In fact, words often do not convey the deeper truths of our existence with him. Some are great with words, others with numbers, others with ideas and others with their hands.
You know who you are. You know what God has given you the ability to do. You know that you are good at these things. Now accept the purpose of the Spirit, the skills, the abilities and the knowledge. Step forward and take the risk of criticism as the preachers must. Step forward and be willing to walk in faith as the evangelists must. Allow yourself to be guided by the Spirit and see what works of beauty God wants to birth through you. Come to him with generosity in your skills and with a willing heart to serve him in this manner. Come with your sacrifices and offerings.