Excerpted from 40 Days of Discovery, a devotional series written for Fellowship Community Church in Centennial, Colo.)
Today I'd like to celebrate two of the lesser-known heroes of the Bible—two guys who just don't get the play they deserve. Seriously, you've got kids all over the place named Joshua, Paul, Timothy, Benjamin and David. You'll even find Moseses, Abrahams, Noahs and Jonahs. But when's the last time you met someone name Bezalel Jones and Oholiab Anderson? Yet, Bezalel and Oholiab were the men behind the creation of the Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacle—things that thousands of years later, we're still making movies about.
Spiritual Gifts and the Old Testament
Most people turn to the New Testament to talk about spiritual gifts, but I think we can find one of the best pictures of these gifts way back in the second book of the Bible. Exodus 35:30-34 tells us:
"Then Moses said the to the Israelites, 'See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.'"
God had a major project for the Israelites. Rather than saying to Moses, "Git 'er done!" He chose Bezalel and Oholiab from the nation and gave them the gifts and skills needed to carry out the charge. That is a picture of the Church. God has called the Church to be His representative on the Earth—to love and encourage each other, and to reach out to those who need to hear about Him. And, like He did in Moses' day, He has gifted each and every believer, so that he or she can carry out a part of this calling.
Better Than a Utili-Tool
Paul writes, "Now to each one of the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good… All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines." (I Corinthians 12:7, 11) I can remember the first time I received a full tool set. It was designed to replace my one-size-fits-all utili-tool—a large, multi-head screwdriver. This little red box full of shiny metal objects was life changing. Biggest eye-opener? Apparently, somewhere along the line, some brilliant engineer devised this tool called a hammer that turns out to be much more effective at driving in nails than the handle of my untili-tool. Amazing!
God has gifted you to be a tool in His toolbox, so that His Church can function effectively. When you or I are not doing our part, the Church ends up driving in nails with screwdrivers. Sure, it may get done, but not with the excellence that comes from gifting and passion.
God Doesn't Lie
Do you know your spiritual gifts? And don't tell me you don't have one, or else I'll have to tell you that by doing so you're making God out to be a liar. If you have never gone through a spiritual gifts assessment, when you are done with this devotion boot up your computer and go to "Free Spiritual Gifts Analysis." This gift test is not foolproof, but they are a good start to discovering how God has wired you. Also, for those of you who have taken one before, let me encourage you to do so again. Awareness of new gifts and passions will sometimes surface as God moves you to different roles in His kingdom.
The two gifts mentioned in the Exodus passage are craftsmanship and teaching. No one would ever accuse me of craftsmanship—I couldn't design, sculpt, draw, paint, embroider or build myself out of a paper bag. But perhaps you fit this gift well. Wonderful! God can use you both in the church as well as outside the church to honor Him and help others.
One of the gifts God has given me is teaching. This includes a passion to study, a desire to clearly understand what I'm communicating to others and the ability to make my subject clear to my readers and listeners. You may be able to identify with this gift, but perhaps you communicate more effectively to children or teenagers. The church always needs godly teachers for all age levels.
But consider the following other gifts presented in Romans 12:6-8.
- Prophesying – the ability to speak forth God's Word in a clear and persuasive way.
- Serving – the ability to help people, groups, churches and communities with various needs. You may be a Mr. Fixit, a Jack-of-all-trades, a godly woman who is always available to help where there is a need.
- Teaching – We've covered this gift above.
- Encouraging – You may be a Barnabas-type man or woman whom people love to be around because of your optimistic spirit and the ability to always say the right thing at the right time. You're like a coach who loves to come alongside of someone and help them get to the next level in their life.
- Contributing – Though everyone is responsible to God to give generously to His work, you may be one of those special individuals who just loves to give. You may not be wealthy, but you've learned to manage your money well and are willing to live below your means. Your greater pleasure in life is to give so that others may be exposed to God's truth, or to help someone get back on their feet to make a difference in their family and their world of influence.
- Leadership – Like Moses, you may have the ability to see the "Big Picture," while others are getting lost in the details or fighting one another. You can't stand to see someone flounder through life or a group of people who are disorganized and going nowhere. You want to step into the situation and cry out, "Hey gang, let's stop squabbling and move forward. I'll show you how to get out of this mess."
- Mercy – Perhaps you have that sixth sense of truly feeling the pain of others. You don't settle for mere words when you ask someone how they are doing. You really want to know. You are drawn to the "left-outs," and those that may not "make-the-cut" socially, physically, mentally or spiritually. You truly care about people.
Do any of these descriptions fit you? Take some time to prayerfully read them one more times. Ask the Lord to impress one or more of these descriptions on you. Now, if you are able, complete that Free Spiritual Gifts Analysis. When you are done, take some time to thank God for the way He has wired you, and commit to Him that you will use His gifts to do His work.