Use the Gifts You Were Given

Use the Gifts You Were Given

You may think your work is very ordinary or unimportant, but if it is being done for God, it IS important. And that is why it needs the help of the Holy Spirit to be done right. Whether it is building chairs, cooking foods at a rescue mission, or writing articles for a website, in all these areas – and more – we need the Lord and his empowering. Yes, you might have long felt gifted as a cook or a woodworker or a writer, but if we are doing these things for Christ and the Kingdom, we need his Spirit to guide us and use us as we make use of those giftings and talents. Without him we are nothing great – but with him we can do great things.

We all have gifts and abilities which have been given to us by God. And God expects us to use them for his glory. It may not always be clear what your particular gifting or talent is, but God does have a job for each of us to do, and he equips us for that task. I recently wrote about what my giftings might be. As I said in that piece:

Often the abilities and talents that you had as a non-Christian are what God will have you make use of in Christian service. Before I became a believer I read a lot and I wrote a lot. Of course I was reading a lot of stuff I now no longer embrace, and I wrote things (such as articles for underground newspapers) that I now no longer agree with.

But where did that talent or ability come from? I believe God gave it to me, and for a while I used it for pagan purposes, but upon becoming a Christian God took those same talents and baptised them into his service. So something I always liked and was good at God used for his work.

I also mentioned in that piece that sometimes God may call you to give up a talent or ability:

I think here of the committed Scottish Christian Eric Liddell whose story was made famous in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. He was born in China to missionary parents, but studied in the UK. He became a terrific runner and even competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics. But he gave this up, returning to China in 1925 as a missionary, where he died 20 years later. He said he ran for the glory of God.

What might be a general rule of thumb is this: Usually we are to use the abilities and talents that we have, knowing that they come from God, although we always need to be willing to give them up if we are asked to do so. What ultimately matters is not any great talents or gifts that we have, but our obedience.

I say all this because as I keep reading through the book of Exodus I was again struck with this notion of God gifting his people to perform his tasks. Exodus is known for several things, most noteworthy being the actual exodus of God’s people out of Egypt. The first third of the book discusses that (chapters 1-18). The next six chapters (19-24) are about Sinai and the giving of the law. The last chapters (25-40) are about the tabernacle and its construction.

Sixteen entire chapters are devoted to this final topic, and great detail is provided there. One thing that stood out to me as I again read this account is that of two individuals who are specially named concerning this task. I refer to Bezalel and Oholiab. They are referred to a number of times in Ex. 31-38, and a few times in Chronicles.

We might call them master craftsmen. That they are specifically highlighted in these chapters tells us of their importance in the making of the tabernacle. Consider these two passages:

Exodus 31:1-11 The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.”

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