Scripture: Exodus 36:1-7
Key verse: (2) “Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the LORD had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come to do the work.”
Reflection: When was your heart last stirred to do work? Do you get excited or moved to fold laundry or sweep the floors, or cut the grass? Does your heart jump at the opportunity to cook a meal for an outreach partner or pick up a hammer for a Habitat build? When we think of work, I feel like there are often categories of work that “has to get done” and work that “we desire to do”. What do these categories look like for you?
In our text for today, the tabernacle is being built. This is the moveable tent where God’s presence comes to reside. The tent itself will not contain God but it will be a place where the people can specifically encounter God through certain worship practices. Bezalel and Oholiab, the two chief artisans, are tasked with a specific plan for building the tabernacle, and the plans are beautiful. We read of gold lamps, colorful yarns, an altar for sacrifice, and the holy ark of the covenant as God’s own seat. The plans come together and the people are moved. We read, “Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the LORD had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come and do the work.” While the work of the tabernacle as a whole must have been a beautiful scene to observe, I wonder how the individual artisans felt about their work? I also wonder about others not mentioned, but just as important for the whole project to be completed. I wonder about the people who came in to sweep up after the woodworkers were finished chiseling the ark of the covenant. I wonder about those who went through the messy process of pressing olives for oil and gathering spices for incense. Do you think their hearts were stirred? I think so, I like to I imagine that their hearts were stirred just as much as the weavers and gold workers, that God gave a wide variety of gifts to the community for the job to be completed.
Have you paused lately to consider what gifts God has blessed you with to bring to your community? There is a concept called Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) that runs with the idea that all communities have what they need to thrive. This mode of thinking often goes against our modern capitalist mindset that we need to pay a specialist outside of our immediate community to fix our problems. However, for ABCD, if time is taken to determine and utilize the gifts of neighbors, a community is blessed and thrives on the skills of all. In fact, there are often skills that are surprising to the community and are found to be underutilized. Perhaps even, if we take time to truly see the gifts of all those around us, we too will be like Moses and realize that we have more than we need! Consider your gifts and how God might be calling you to use them in your neighborhood, the church, and the wider community. Consider also what the gifts of those around you might be. And may we give thanks to God for blessing us all with unique gifts.
Prayer: God of all gifts, we give you thanks for the ways in which you bless each community. Open our eyes to both the needs and gifts of those around us. Stir within us so that we may be moved to use our gifts to your glory. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].