Monday, March 01, 2010

Spirit-filled for arts and crafts

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 31:1-15

TO CHEW ON: “And I have filled him (Bezalel) with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” Exodus 31:3

This passage contains one of the earliest scriptural references to a person being filled with the Spirit of God. The exciting thing is that it’s for work in the arts and crafts.

"Bezalel" by James Tissot

We tend to look at the gifted artist or craftsperson as someone with a natural gift or talent not needing outside help. No doubt there was some native talent in Bezalel and Oholiab, the men God told Moses to put in charge of constructing the tabernacle and its accessories. But here we find that in addition to any inherent talent they possessed, God imparted to them extraordinary abilities in three areas:

1. Wisdom: Have you read the instructions for building the tabernacle and furnishings? One would certainly need wisdom to know how to interpret and carry them out.

2. Understanding: I am always amazed by reno and fix-it shows on HGTV. Craftsmen like Mike Holmes understand how to solve complicated structural problems from the inside out. The Holy Spirit gave these men that kind of understanding.

3. Workmanship: God imparted Bezalel and Oholiab the skill to actually do the work – to carve the almond blossoms and pomegranates, to cast the rings and the cherubim, to fit the pieces together and overlay them with gold.

 "The Tailor" by James Tissot

I find myself readily asking for the Holy Spirit’s infilling when it comes to “spiritual” things. But doesn’t this passage indicate we can also ask for His infilling when our assignment is to design the centerpieces for the church potluck or the church’s float in the community parade? I know these jobs aren’t as exalted as building the Tabernacle but they are part of our worship, and thus worthy of our best and more than we in ourselves have the natural ability to accomplish.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this example of Your filling people for work in the arts and crafts. Help me to rely on Your Spirit’s filling for all I do. Amen.

MORE: Os Guinness speaks about the Christian’s vision and inspiration:

“It is easy to abuse vision and make it serve as chaplain to our conceits or bellhop to our desires. Christian vision, by contrast, must be held accountable because it is inspired directly or indirectly by the call of God. It is an act of imaginative seeing that combines the insight of faith, which goes to the heart of things below the surface, and the foresight of faith, which soars beyond the present with the power of a possible future. This combining of the not-yet-combined is the secret of visionary faith. Vision and reality, word and fulfillment, present and future, situation and possibility, restlessness and reaching out, anger at what is wrong and an aim for what is better – whatever the contrast between the pairs, visionary faith is out to close the gap.” (Os Guinness – The Call, p. 177, emphasis mine)

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