Sacred Craftsmanship

In these moments when people will be chosen to lead and influence our safety, well-being, and way of life, it’s normal to be anxious about the future of our family and work.  Although this present fear is real, we can easily forget that our life and identity is not in what we do, but who we are as chosen and beloved children of God, crafting sacred places for God to live among us.

In the days of Moses, the Lord God asked the people to make a sanctuary, “that I may dwell in their midst.” It was God’s desire and design, but he wanted the craftsmen and women to build it. Bezalel and Oholiab were two artisans in the community amazingly gifted and chosen to help design and build the sanctuary for the Lord God.  God said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship…And behold I have appointed with him Oholiab…” (Read Exodus 31:1-11; 35:30-36:6 for the whole story.) 

The Spirit of God stirred the hearts of the people and used their knowledge and gifts for his purposes. “And every skillful woman spun with her hands…all the women whose hearts stirred them used their skillall the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded…brought it to the Lord.” (Exodus 35:25-29) And when everyone used their gifts and resources in community, they had all they needed and more to finish the work.

A dear student friend using her God-given gifts to love and serve wrote this:

As I thought about Bezalel and Oholiab, an image of Jesus as Bezalel formed in my mind. Jesus, the true and better Bezalel. God then said to me, “If you give me your skills and resources, I’ll invest them to make something beautiful.” It was an invitation of investment towards something eternal. He wants to take what I have and use it to beautify his temple. And we, with the Spirit of Christ, are the temple. So here I am–the Israelite, the Bride–offering my jewels to Jesus–the Groom, the Artist, the Crafter–to invest back into me, the temple of Christ, so that it can then be given back to him. What a beautiful exchange.

Notice that Bezalel, even though he was gifted and skilled as an individual, was not set apart by the Holy Spirit to serve alone—God appointed Oholiab as his partner.  Paul and Barnabas were also set apart as partners by their believing community. Jesus called and appointed together twelve leaders and invited them to be with him, and to be sent out to preach. And Jesus sent out seventy-two leaders, two by two into every town and place where he would minister.

As God has called, appointed, gifted, and set apart, it is our joy to respond in obedience to every invitation to serve, to speak, to sing, and use our gifts and resources together, in community, for the sake of the name of Jesus.

Soul Search. We are not what we do, we are not what we have, we are not what others think of us. It’s tempting to think of ourselves through the lens of something else — approval by others, success, the well-being of our family, the fruitfulness of our ministry, our feelings of fulfillment, or our ability to achieve our goals and dreams. We may even see ourselves almost exclusively through our sin struggle or through our hardships.

The same Peter who struggled and did so many clumsy things in his early days of following Jesus, later in life wisely encouraged, “You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (1 Peter 2:9-10 MSG)

In any way you can, build something, serve someone, sing a song, invite God to come and live in whatever place you are in. You are a sacred craftsman.

 Prayer. Jesus, when was the last time my heart was stirred to serve others?Whatever gifts or skills I have, please let your Spirit call me again to use them. Set me apart as holy, useful to the master, ready for every good work.  Help me to run from distractions, fears, and personal wants and passionately pursue justice and truth in your name. Amen.

Where are you struggling, what is really hard right now? I can listen and pray. robbijames@gmail.com

One thought on “Sacred Craftsmanship

  1. Hi Robbi. I like this post about offering what we have in the way of talents and craftsmanship, and using our unique giftedness. I have been on a journey of late to know what obedience looks like when we are seeking specific instructions from God. He doesn’t always provide this, but He does provide His ultimate will, which is to be part of spreading His word which “does not return empty, but will accomplish what He purposes and succeed in the thing for which it was sent” (Isa 55:11). As I am teaching Genesis at this time, I also observed that God says to Noah, “Understand this: I am going to flood the earth…but I will establish my covenant with you” (Gen 6:17). What are the things I need to understand as I travel through these strange times? Your post reminds me that everything we can do, small or great, according to God’s will is our beautiful offering to Him, and He will use it. Thanks be to God that He gives us friends, helpers and co-workers along the way.

    Like

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