Friday, December 21, 2007
Moses told the Israelites, “See, God has selected Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He’s filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and know-how for making all sorts of things, to design and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to carve stones and set them; to carve wood, working in every kind of skilled craft."
What does it mean to be "gifted." We use that term but we don't really mean it. What we mean is that someone is really good at something. Or they pick things up easily. They get A's without trying (or it would seem to others). Working with some very high-achieving Asian-American students, I have been contemplating what it means to be gifted. What kind of goals should someone have who is obviously so successful in school? What does God have to say to folks like this?
Well, Moses had a word from God (one of many, some would say too many after trying to read the book of Leviticus). And this word was had to do with this guy Bezalel. Someone obviously gifted in many areas. A superb craftsman. One wonders if he did work for Pharaoh in building and carving. In any case, Moses did not call him a "high achiever." He did not call him an "expert." Moses looked upon the man and the situation first from the perspective of what God was doing and who God is. He said that God selected Bezalel. He said that God filled Bezalel with His Spirit. And it was this same God that GAVE Bezalel the abilities and knowledge and skills.
This is a major jump in thinking. Do not think that this is a word game. This is more than an idea. This is foundational for life and work and everything. Moses is speaking the Word of God. Hear it. Digest it. Live it. God gave Bezalel his abilities. That of course does not mean that Bezalel did not train. That does not mean that Bezalel did not work hard, that he just sat in church and lifted his hands and all of a sudden he was an expert. But Moses is speaking to you and I, because we lose track of who God is and where our abilities come from. All good gifts come from God. All abilities come from God. And sometimes, God especially blesses some people with unique and wonderful abilities and talents to use for His purposes.
Bezalel was one of these people. And God used Bezalel to supervise and train others in the building of His tabernacle, the very ornate tent that went with the Hebrews through the desert and to the promised land. The tent that God met with the people, where God spoke to them and where they worshiped Him.
So what should we do with the wonderful talents that God gives to us? Here is a short list:
1. Develop them
2. Rejoice in them
3. Thank God for them
4. Offer them to God for Him to use as He sees fit
5. Look for others who know God, to help guide in appropriately doing #4
6. Realize that sometimes it can be lonely, being the one with so many talents and abilities
7. Realize that others need those talents and abilities since they do not have them
8. Realize that being used by God will make you feel like you are being used (sounds obvious but you won't like it sometimes)
9. Realize that there will always be temptations to use talents and abilities for self-service and for the world's and the devil's purposes
10. When you see God's gift to others and not to you, rejoice and thank God--do not turn to jealousy or try to run that person down