Exodus 35-39 passage talks in length about the gifts and skills that the Lord gave Bezalel and Oholiab to equip them in constructing the tabernacle. Repeated throughout is the fact that they have been filled “with the Spirit of God, with skills, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship…”. These men were given a task from the Lord, but they were not left to their own devices to try and muster up enough skill to complete the task. The Lord gave them so much skill and knowledge that when they all came together “the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more”. In the end, what all of the men were doing (obeying the call on their lives to use the talents the Lord had given them) was far and away more than what was needed.
This story is a beautiful one of obedience, providence, and work done well. However, reading it can frustrate me, since I don’t seem to have the same clarity or the same explicit direction concerning my God-given talents and the avenue to best utilize them. I was very struck by the wording in Exodus 36:2 – “..and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work”. The passion I feel for human interaction, service, and relationships feels much like a stirring.
I have worked with high schoolers in ministry, older adults in social work/advocacy, and lived with five other girls for three years of my college experience. Relationships are an integral part of who I am, and I do feel that my desire for human connection and using that connection to bring about change, improvements, restoration, and hope is a part of who the Lord made me to be.
Where I struggle is how I will use this desire and skill to relate to people as a vocation and in a way that best utilizes these talents for the glory of God. I used to think that I could only work in a very high-intensity, emotionally draining, “ground floor, in the nitty gritty” type of position, a spot where there are one-on-ones and small groups and where I give directly of myself; drawing directly each day from my heart and emotional energy to complete a job.
I am coming to realize that I may have put myself in a box in thinking that because I am such a “feeler”, I cannot work anywhere except in the thick of issues and mess, anywhere except a micro setting. I subconsciously thought that doing work in any sort of macro setting would feel way too impersonal for me. I am slowly learning that this is not the case, and that I can make a difference by using my emotions and heart in addition to the practical skills, knowledge, hard work, and office/administrative capabilities that I have.
I have learned much even in my short time of being a CCS (Child Care Specialist) at Jill’s House. I have learned practical things that come from more experience with caring for severely disabled individuals, but I also have learned so much about myself. I have almost continually felt inadequate and ill prepared. Prior to this, I had never worked with the special needs population, of any age. The learning curve is simply huge; you can talk all you want about changing the diaper on a 120-pound individual, but at some point you just have to jump in and do it. And doing it entails more than you would imagine (i.e. noncompliance, inability to straighten limbs from cerebral palsy, etc.).
In learning all of the ins and outs of being responsible for the care of these individuals (some are children, some are adults), I have to stop and think “Laura, the Lord brought you to Jill’s House and he has and will equip you to do what is required of you here.” I am moved by the matter-of-fact and repetitious way that this passage from Exodus conveys how the men’s skills and aptitude were directly from the Lord, and he had purposed them specifically for that work which he was laying out for them. God had not called them without gifting them. I pray that I would fight to win myself to this truth each day I walk into Jill’s House.
What task are you called to by the Lord? What gifts has He placed in you to do it?
Laura Davis works as a Child Care Specialist at Jill’s House, a ministry caring for and giving dignity to disabled men and women in the Northern Virginia area. She is a member of the 2015-2016 class of The Capital Fellows Program.