Missio on the Tabernacle: In the Details

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Select ODBC External Database. Choose Manage Tab. Select SAE_808_VW. Export to Excel – Values Only. Remove Duplicates. Sort by Billing Amount. Refresh Data. Validate Batch. View Control Report Exceptions.

These are some of the tedious, although at times strangely gratifying, steps I take on my Windows desktop at work to reconcile bank statement billings with charges from corporate cardholders reported on the company side. Meticulous, tight, and often painstaking as these actions may be, they are cut out for someone with an attention to detail.

“He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen.” Exodus 35:35

If one cannot entirely conclude from this verse that the Lord favors deep hues and quality textiles, which is probably not the main point here, then he or she can at least reason that God cares about detail. He cares about the right-clicks, the sorting, and the filters because they are required details, small steps to reach a finished product. The same can be said of His ultimate, coming kingdom, the new heavens and new earth for which we are waiting and actively working towards in our comings and goings and doings throughout life. The small details, or singular roles of his people, will contribute to a bigger reality of cultured life under God’s reign in his second coming.

We have the personal privilege to contribute to the building of this new city, a Holy Temple in which the Lord will dwell completely. From the message that Moses delivers to the Israelites from God in Exodus 35, we can see The Lord has called by name each of his workers to build the temple (v. 30). There exists a personal invitation from the Lord to us to come alongside him and do his work on the earth, specific to each of his people. What could possibly qualify us for the Lord’s work? In the Israelites case, what could have made them gifted enough to undertake the building of an intricate and holy tabernacle?

Nothing, apart from what the Lord had given them. God, first and foremost, has filled us with His Spirit – his creating spirit that made something out of nothing – to enable us to create in his generous supply of resources. Even more than that, he has explicitly instilled us with certain skill, intelligence, knowledge, and craftsmanship (v. 31). He has given us the ability to design and to teach, to perform every workman’s task of any and every craft (v. 35). He has given, and given generously indeed.

It is a thoroughly good and humbling reminder that any brains I have are pure gift from the Lord. There is nothing that I did to form or shape how I think and how I approach learning inside, or outside of, an educational environment. Moses so clearly states here that our intelligence is directly from God. From his Spirit at work within us, to intelligence and knowledge, he’s given us all the internal resources we need so that we might be able to exercise a certain craftsmanship externally.

More than this, God has given in full, as Moses says we are filled with these abilities, not just given them in part as if we need to be strive dreadfully on our own. Even as there might be more to learn in a certain field or craft we are called to, we can rest assured, knowing that God has equipped us fully in our abilities for pursuing that area of work. Truly, later on, we learn that Moses even tells the builders not to bring any more than their own work, “for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more” (v.7)

This is an honest challenge for me because I truly want to do it all. I want to design the embroidery and also stitch it; I want to organize the carpentry supplies but also instruct people on how to use it. My interests fall all across the spectrum and I find myself getting authentically excited about various roles that I could assume. In some ways, I see myself as an analyzer, in other situations a communicator; in one sense an entertainer but in another a scholar. I genuinely want to do so much!

God is beginning to gently show me that though these are good desires, there is also an element of fear attached to them. Part of me is buying into the lie that by committing to one thing, I’m “missing out” on other things I could be doing. Moses’ charge is in direct opposition to that. He announces not to let any man or woman “do anything more” for the contribution to the sanctuary, for what each of God’s individually skilled people had brought was already more than enough. Alongside the command to be stewards of the skills that God has given his people is a command to not do work outside of what is needed for the temple.

What work that I may be fantasizing about or wanting to do for not the right reasons is the Lord maybe calling to my attention in order to set down at His feet? If God has so specifically equipped all his workers with certain gifts and talents to be used for his glory, then those talents will be best realized, and He most glorified, when employed more completely. So, let us lay aside our fears of choosing wrongly and trust him as the God who has bountiful plans for cultivating our distinctive gifts that He wants to see blossom even more than we do.

 

Sarah Dodson works in Accounting in the not-for-profit sector and is a member of the 2016-2017 Capital Fellows Program.

image: freeimages/Kerem Yucel

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