I used to chuckle at a Calvin & Hobbes comic that my mom kept on our refrigerator when I was a child. It had a picture of Calvin making a grumpy face with a caption that read, “God put us on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. At this point I am so far behind I will never die.” But somewhere along the line, one of my parents had crossed off “number of” so it read; “God put us on earth to accomplish certain things…” It was a silly little comic, but I never really forgot the concept behind it. As I began to get to know and love God on a personal level, I always kind of wondered how much truth was behind that. Did God really put us on earth to accomplish specific things? Did He really give each person only a part of the puzzle?
I began to figure out what I am best at. I figured that would be my strong point — my combo move so to speak – for me to accomplish the most for the Kingdom. Is it music? What about art? What about writing? And are there things I am specifically not good at? Sports for sure. Math and science probably a close second. So, those talents can be left up to someone else. They can be the puzzle piece that fits where I fall short.
It is interesting to think of the huge plan God has laid out. It includes all of us, and all of our talents. To think that He would fit all of us carefully into a place in history, with specific talents, to accomplish certain things so that it all lines up for His glory. And not only does He do that but He ups the ante with the Holy Spirit empowering our talents.
For instance, let’s look at a man named Bezalel in Exodus:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have 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 craftsmanship.” – Exodus 31:1-5
So, God creates this man, Bezalel, hand-made in his mother’s womb, all geared up for a specific plan and purpose. Then at an appointed time God drops the Spirit into the mix to couple with Bezalel’s talent in craftsmanship and gifting in wisdom. Sounds like a lethal combination against the enemy, and a huge potential for glorifying God. But in case you are wondering, you happen to have a similar combination built into your life.
Ok, Bezalel is commissioned by Moses to be the head craftsman. He has specific powerful talents, a good dose of the Holy Spirit, and a commission. Watch what happens when Bezalel begins to operate in that three-fold purpose:
“Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. He overlaid it with pure gold, both inside and out, and made a gold molding around it. He cast four gold rings for it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. And he inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it.
He made the atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. Then he made two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. He made one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; at the two ends he made them of one piece with the cover. The cherubim had their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim faced each other, looking toward the cover.” – Exodus 37:1-9
What is Bezalel using his talents on? Well, it is none other than the Ark of the Covenant. The very object that God’s presence and glory would hover around for years and years to come. Think about some of the stories that surround it. There was the Uzzah fiasco, the incident with the idol of Dagon getting floored, the immense blessing of the house of Obed-Edom, and don’t forget the parting of the Jordan with the Ark at the forefront. This was a very important sacred object! And, because of his talents, Bezalel was the man of the hour.
God anointed Bezalel for craftsmanship, Bezalel was faithful in that talent, and therefore God was glorified through the result. God likes to work that way. He does that in your life, too. He has placed his Spirit on you to work in direct relation with your talents and giftings. So be faithful, worship through your talents, and glorify God.
Realize that you follow a Creator God who put some of that same creation power within you. When you use that creation power flowing through your talents and giftings, you will produce things like the Ark, which was a symbol of God’s glory for hundreds of years. When the Spirit of God anoints your talents and giftings, many times they will create objects or bring about effects that will glorify God and His kingdom long after you have left this earth!
Do you write music? Your music will glorify God for years to come. Do you paint? Your paintings will be glorifying God in some gallery. Do you teach? Your teaching will effect kids who will someday effect more kids and on and on, glorifying God through the generations. Are you a leader? Your leadership has a pioneering force that will breakthrough for the next generations. See how God can be glorified through your talents and giftings for ages and ages? So harness those things God gave you!
Let’s take another look at Exodus.
“The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.” – Exodus 12:35-36
Soon after all the plagues, Pharaoh finally sends the people of Israel off to worship their God. In the process, we see God, through Moses, telling the people to ask the Egyptians for their riches. With God’s favor, the Israelites venture into the desert with more than a camel-load of wealth. They have gold and silver galore. But don’t think that God would send them into the desert with all these riches just to brag to their grandchildren. This gift from God (remember, it was His favor that sparked such generosity) was meant to be used for His glory.
Soon we see God calling Moses up to the mountain to talk and God says:
“Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.” – Exodus 25:2-7
These people are stuck out in the desert, and God is giving them a grocery list of riches He wants them to collect. Obviously they are not going to go digging through the desert sand or looking under nearby rocks to find this stuff (especially that porpoise skin). God expected the Egyptian riches to be put to good use.
So why do they need all these things? Next verse:
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” – Exodus 25:2-8
Ah, yes. Here is where we once again see God being glorified through our gifts. He gives us gifts and we utilize them, but in the process we are able to bring glory to Him. Egypt’s riches were transferred to Israel through God’s favor and then God calls the people to use those gifts to build the temple. The temple, like the Ark of the Covenant, was a symbol of God’s presence and glory for generations to come.
Of course, that isn’t exactly the first thing the Israelites did. They didn’t immediately spring in to action, excited to do the Lord’s bidding and begin work on the temple. No, first they decided to give us a lesson in what not to do.
God and Moses are talking. God is telling Moses about all the collecting of gold and materials for the temple as well as commissioning Bezalel and his men to be the official craftsmen. Let’s let them talk for a bit and sneak over to the edge of the mountain and have a peek down below. What is happening?
“So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, ‘Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.’” – Exodus 32:3-5
Let me point out two interesting and similar points.
One, God is telling Moses to have the people collect the gifts to be used to build the tabernacle. But instead, the people are taking the gold, which God gave them, and giving it to Aaron to build a false idol. Not only are they using the gifts for the wrong purpose, but also they are rebelling against God by doing it.
Two, while Moses is being told to commission Bezalel to be the tabernacle craftsman and that the Spirit will fall on him, Aaron is down below playing with the gold like he knows what he is doing. I can just imagine the ugly idol Aaron made. It was made out of all gold earrings and fashioned by a man who was not anointed to do so. The thing could just as well have been made from play-dough.
God has given you giftings and talents to be used for Him. If you begin to align your talents with the world, you will only succeed in making ugly idols and not glorifying God. If God has given you specific talents or gifts, then use them for Him. If He has anointed you in the Spirit and commissioned you to be the “tabernacle craftsman”, then do it. Recognize that God has given you riches (and sometimes robbed Egypt to do so) and wait for your appointment to use them in worship. God loves when you use the gifts He showered upon you to worship Him.
Eventually Israel did shape up and begin to realign with God’s vision for those Egyptian riches. Although some tough times fell on them because of their misuse of their God-given gifts, the people repented and listened to Moses. They collected their gold, silver and other riches and gave them to God. The tabernacle was crafted and erected by Bezelel and his men, and we see God glorified.
“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” – Exodus 40:34-35
So, I encourage you to sit down and make an assessment of those things God has blessed you with. What is your zone? What is your secret weapon? Write down every talent and gift. Then pray that the Holy Spirit will fall upon you so that you will be able to worship in spirit and truth. Then go into all the world and use that combination in worship to God.
You have the resources to glorify God! Worship Him through what He gave you!