Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crafting in the Shadow

I got a little treat a few weeks ago. 
I got the chance to be a student in my own Sunday School class.  

I rarely get that chance. I generally teach the class unless I'm going out of town. This time, I had asked for a little break.

The lesson was about using our gifts and talents for the Kingdom of God. At the end of the lesson, the teacher asked the class  to share what they believed to be their own talents.

From my quiet chair in the corner, I studied the women in that room. What I saw made me sad. They shifted in their seats. They rearranged their Bibles. They shrugged and sighed and chewed on their lips. In the entire class, only two women actually shared something that they thought they could bring to God's party.

There's no good reason for that, either. Sitting around that room was a group of gifted women. They can bake and sew and decorate. They can sing and craft and organize. They have many talents. They just have one little problem. None of these women sees herself as one who shines. 

You see, they sing in the choir, but never sing the solo. They serve on committees but never serve as the chair. When a job needs to be done, they're the hands and feet behind the scenes. You rarely if ever see their face out in front or their name in the bulletin. They are the shadow people.

Can anyone relate?

I chewed on that scene all week long. I even considered doing a lesson to address it but went ahead with plans to begin a study on the Ark of the Covenant. We began with the building of the Tabernacle in Exodus.  It wasn't long before I stumbled on this:

 Then Moses said to the Israelites, 
"See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-- 
~ Exodus 35:30

OK...Am I the only one out there who has never noticed the name Bezalel before? 

If you've read the Book at all, you know that it took an entire nation to build and furnish that Tabernacle. What you might not realize (because I didn't) is that God only names two of them. One was Bezalel,  

And name him, he did. The actual rendering of that verse doesn't say that God chose Bezalel. It says that God called him by name.  

Now, I don't know about you, but whenever I read that God calls someone by name, I'm always curious to know exactly what that name means. I looked it up, and do you know what it means? 

In the shadow of God.  

Bezalel wasn't a spotlight kind of guy. He wasn't a speaker or a warrior. He wasn't a prophet or a judge. He was never going to wear the priestly garments and be covered in gold and precious stones. He wasn't going to blow the trumpet or carry the Ark of the Covenant. 

No, Bezalel wasn't a spotlight kind of guy. He was just a man with a craft and a heart for his God.   A few verses later we find out he had a heart to teach others the craft as well.  If he were alive today, I bet he'd be a blogger. 

But then again, maybe he wouldn't. Maybe he would be perfectly content to do the job that God had gifted him to do, knowing that if God had called him to do it and equipped him to do it, it must be an important job to God.

By the way, it was. 

You just don't find out which job had Bezalel written on it unless you keep reading that wonderful Book. A few chapters later, Exodus 37 begins with these words:

So Bezalel made the ark...

That's right folks. Bezalel made the Ark of the Covenant, the treasure of Israel.  
Just think about it...
In the entire history of God's people, only two hands ever touched the Ark of the Covenant and lived to tell the tale. Both of those hands belonged to an obscure crafter named Bezalel, a man in a shadow of God.

So here's to you, shadow people.
 If you only hear one thing this morning, hear this:

The God who created you has gifted you with specific skills for a specific purpose, and that specific purpose has your name written all over it.  You may be crafting in the shadows, but from where God sits, you shine.

Comments off for Sunday


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