Almost everyone has heard of Moses. He’s in the “no last name” club. Beyoncé, LeBron, Moses. We’re going to assume, for this session, that you have at least heard of Moses.
But have you ever heard of two guys named Bezalel and Oholiab? Probably not.
Around the same time that Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments, and allowed so closely to the presence of God that his face shined, God spoke these words:
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him.” (Exodus 31:1-6).
When we think about people being filled with the Spirit, we often assume that those people must be preachers or ministers or worship leaders. But here is a great example of God inspiring two people to work with their hands in the construction of the tabernacle. They were gifted to serve God, not with singing or teaching or in leadership, but through their crafts.
“I began to suspect that I might be called to preach. My suspicion may have been no more than fear, for with all my heart I disliked the idea of becoming a preacher. But for as long as I could remember, I had been hearing preachers tell in sermons how they had received ‘the call’…Not one of those men had ever suggested that a person could be ‘called’ to anything but ‘full-time Christian service,’ by which they meant either the ministry or ‘the mission field.’”
—Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow (42-43)
In many churches, there’s a problem: We often think pastors and missionaries are the only ones called to serve. We accept the lie that only ministers can minister. And it can become a lie about our own identity if we begin to think that we’re not called just because we’re not paid to “do ministry” or aren’t on stage. The New Testament knows nothing about that kind of Christianity.
Scripture is pretty clear that every follower of Jesus is gifted to help the rest of the church grow and mature. Our gifts are intended to help other people, not to glorify ourselves in some kind of spiritual talent show. And as we’ve discussed in previous sessions, we’re meant for community. And that’s exactly the best place for our gifts to be used. Not only that, we need community. We can’t grow properly by ourselves. Nobody has all the gifts, so no one can be the church individually, as much of a dream as that may be for some introverts.
If you’re looking for purpose in life, this is challenging but great news! You have a role to play in the ministry of Jesus, whether you have a title or not. No Christian is designed to be a spectator or a pew-warmer.
We’ve spent a lot of time in this study talking about our identity as humans and Christians, and what we have in common as people created and redeemed by God. But when we talk about spiritual gifts, we also have to acknowledge that God doesn’t want us to all look and act the same. There is great diversity in his design. The same Spirit that binds us together also casts us in various roles in the story God is telling.
This summer and fall, we are posting sections of our Life Group studies on Identity and Witness (full studies available in links). In the fall of 2019, our Life Groups will focus on the theme of Wisdom.