Offering Freely After Our Ability
Has there ever been a time when you felt you had an affinity for one skill but not another? I can say for sure that you, my friend, are not alone. Everyone at one point or another in their life feels incompetent to the task at hand, or that they simply… have no clue what they are doing.
Now picture yourself in the middle of the desert all the way back during the time of Exodus 35 and 36. As a human without power tools, vast modern knowledge and seeable resources, you are given the task to not only make the earthly dwelling place of God (Creator of everything) but the symbol of His covenant and other items He designates as holy.
And here I am still worried about putting these words together!
We do have one common denominator between us and the people of Israel: God. God is as alive now as He ever has been, and He is the beginning, middle and end of our day because He creates it according to his divine plan for us.
It is easier said than done, but we should not worry about whether we are good enough or whether we have the ability. God gives us the lives we have and the abilities we have in them. He did the same exact thing for Bezalel and Oholiab. By the power of God’s Spirit they were not only given the crafting skills to complete God’s tasks, but to teach and inspire others to do the same. Israelites who were moved by God to do his bidding were also given the ability and opportunity to humbly donate the resources necessary for the craftsmen to do God’s work (Exodus 35:21-36:7). God provided the skills and the resources for the Israelites to complete His will, but only if they gave freely.
The way this chapter is written, it sounds like not every Israelite was moved to do as the Lord commanded. Only the people whose hearts and souls were moved by the Lord contributed. Even in the almighty presence of God, people still questioned and struggled to have faith.
As humans and even as Christians, we will struggle from time to time and that is why it is even more important to not act as parts or individuals but as a unified body, a whole community and church. We should strive ever more to build our faith with God and each other. We are given our individual opportunities and talents by God, but it is up to us to encourage each other to grow in them and to use them. People who were moved had the opportunity to grow in a skill they could use to please the Lord, and if they weren’t able to, then they had to ability to encourage and to give the materials necessary for those skills to be used. They all acted as one to complete the wondrous designs the Lord gave them; we must do the same.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 talks about this, how a body is not only a measure of its parts but it is measured by the glorious outcomes those parts can achieve together. No matter the backgrounds, circumstances, or struggles: through Christ we are all given the chance to glorify God using our individual skills for His higher purpose, just as the Israelites did in Exodus. With God in our hearts there should be no worry of failure or not being enough, because if we try, if we use what He has given us to the best of our ability, then how could we let Him down?
We know the Israelites created relics so beautiful with God’s instructions that we struggle to wrap our heads around its meaning to this day. We fail to realize sometimes that we are building one of the most beautiful relics of all--His family. When the price of trying is someone’s soul, we cannot fail because we spiritually grow saving our own souls as we save theirs (cf. 1 Timothy 4:16). In both circumstances God’s family is strengthened and that is a loveliness too hard to describe in words.
I recently found that I lack the aptitude to be an athlete, but the grace of God is teaching me the skill to be a cheerleader in place of that. You, my loving family at West Mason, show me that grace because your gifts are cultivating my inner cheerleader.
We have God and with Him (including His love given through others) we are always given a new window and a new chance to learn: so long as we give our trust to let it. No ability is too small or too great with God; the Israelite who provided the materials is just as valued as the one who uses them. Whether we feel our abilities are numerous or narrow does not matter, because they grow and change with time. The only thing that matters is how we use them.