This reading for this devotional is based on Exodus 35:10 – 36:38.
Today we read about the building of the Tabernacle. God could’ve spoken the word and Shazam! The Tabernacle could have appeared. Can you see it? The scripture would’ve read: “And behold, God longed for a dwelling place among men so he spoke the word, and the heavens rumbled, and the ground shook. A great Tabernacle rose up from the earth and rested in the midst of the camp. God looked upon it and said, “It is good. Here I will dwell.” However, it doesn’t read that way. Chapter 35 verse 10 summons man to come and construct the items needed for its building. In fact it says, “all of you who are gifted craftsman.” This tells me that God gives us very practical gifts, for very specific purposes, which he has planned in advance for us to do. God uses men to accomplish his work here on Earth.
What practical gifts has God given you? Perhaps you have a green thumb, or maybe you’re good with a hammer and nail. What about artwork? Can you draw, paint, put together scrapbooks? Maybe God has gifted you with a mathematical mind and you’re good with numbers. Maybe you can sew, knit, or crochet. Perhaps you can rebuild an engine, repair a broken sprinkler system, or put together a Power Point presentation. No matter what your skills and abilities are, they are first and foremost God-given, and he has a plan for their use.
If we look at our own congregation we see these skills come into play on a daily basis. Someone trims those hedges and keeps the sprinkler system going. Someone puts together the slides for worship services. Someone makes needed repairs and keeps things in top-notch shape. Someone cooks those delicious Wednesday evening meals. Someone repairs the cars donated to our Naz Car Ministry. The list goes on and on and on. Are you allowing God to use your gifts for his purpose? After all, he gave them to you with a specific plan in mind.
Not only does God use men to do the practical, he uses men to meet the needs. Exodus 35:21 tells us that God’s spirit moved on men and they brought offerings to the Lord. If you read on you’ll see that their offerings were very practical as well. They brought cloth, gold, silver, thread, leather, wood, spices, oil, gemstones, and incense. All these were needed and used to build the Tabernacle. I like to think of this in modern day terms. If we were building a Tabernacle today our list might look something like this: electrical wire, sheet-rock, hammers, nails, outlets, carpet, windows, sinks, faucets, paint, screws, chairs, lightbulbs, and even toilets. That’s how practical our God is. When things are needed he calls us to provide them.
As I write this I think about our garage. If you’re like most average Americans, your garage probably looks like ours; stuffed to the gills with stuff that just sits and sits and sits. Maybe some of that stuff could be used for God’s kingdom; for his purposes. Perhaps the Rescue Mission could use those extra lawn chairs that have been sitting there so long that you’ll need to apply some WD40 to their hinges just to unfold them. Or what about that box of puzzles that hasn’t seen the light of day in 15 years? Maybe a nursing home could use them or a Christian ministry needs them in their children’s area. The possibilities are endless. If it’s done nothing but collect dust, would you consider asking God to show you where you can fill a need?
Psalm 50:10 tells us that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. But, did you stop to consider who will round them up when they’re needed? God could summon his angel: “Yo Gabe! Why don’t you head on out there and rustle me up some beef. There’s goin’ t’ be a big ‘ole BBQ Saturday and the church needs some burgers.” It’s comical to think of it, but most likely God is going to call on a local cattle rancher to rustle up that beef. Or maybe he’ll even call on you and your oversized S.U.V. to head over to Costco and load up.
Ask the Lord to show you how he wants to use your gifts. Then be willing to do as he directs. Bezlel and Oholiab did, and they were privileged to build the first dwelling place of God. God just might surprise you. Will you be his agent today?