Exodus: the tradesman vs the pastor

Cover to Cover

Reading: Exodus 30:17-33:23

Focus: Exodus 31:1-11

When it comes to the creative arts, while we may recognise that all gifts and talents are God-given, it often does not receive the same recognition as other gifts and talents. When we see a strong leader, they are filled with the spirit of God; when we see a eloquent preacher or teacher, they are filled with the spirit of God; but when we see a magnificent artist, do we think they are filled with the spirit of God? When we see an elegant sculpture, do we think they are filled with the spirit of God? Now, it’s not to say that every Bob and Harry who displays creativity (even, leadership or speaking ability, for that matter) is filled with the spirit of God, but how often do we consider the fact that an artist may be filled with the spirit as a preacher is filled?

Throughout the Old Testament, it is recognised that, even, trade skills are gifts which God uses for His purposes and glory. In the making of the Tabernacle furnishings, there are particular individuals who are filled with the spirit of God so that they might be able to create the furnishings desired. Bezalel and Oholiab are two such individuals identified for the task at hand, among the various other craftsmen who have been given skill.

Now, I don’t think it’s to say that, suddenly, overnight that these individuals were imbued with the gifts and skills they needed to make the furnishings for the Tabernacle, but rather that they had been groomed, trained and developed in their crafts and that God had enabled and blessed them to excel in their craft. Such is the case with leaders, preachers, musicians, artists, today. Even the innate abilities people are born with (if you can say that) are groomed in one’s upbringing, be it through careful instruction or through good influences in one’s environment; as it often seen that abilities that are not groomed often wither away.

With such a view in mind, we should not despise or neglect the gifts and talents that we each have been given. So often, we are envious of the abilities and talents of others, without realising that which we have been given. Just as these selected craftsmen are filled with the spirit of God for their tasks, so are we filled with the spirit of God when we allow our gifts, talents and abilities to be used for the purposes and glory of God. You can be an accountant, you can be a garbage collector, you can be a teacher, you can be a police officer and you can do greater things that the preacher who stands each Sunday! Whatever our skills may be, let us pray that we would use them for the purposes of God, the source and giver of all such things.

Next Reading: Exodus 34:1-37:16

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