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.
The name Bezalel is not a name that first comes to our mind when we think of biblical characters. On a familiarity scale, Bezalel is about as obscure as one can get. Yet God himself plucks Bezalel from obscurity and presents his impressive work resume to Moses as a candidate for lead craftsman and builder of the tabernacle. Bezalel was the right guy for the job.
God created Bezalel with particular gifts for work. My hunch is that at an early age, Bezalel’s bent for building things was observed by his parents. As Bezalel grew into maturity, his building skills were honed and I suspect became razor sharp. Bezalel became really good at designing and building things.
David, a friend of mine who has designed some of the finest major league baseball stadiums in the United States, stumbled one day onto Exodus 31 while he was in college studying architecture. As he read about Bezalel, the words jumped off the page and tears began to stream down his face. At that moment it was as if God spoke to him and said, “David, this is what I have created you to do.”
Not all of us have this dramatic and decisive vocational calling, but this story illustrates two important truths for our vocational callings we dare not miss. First, we have been designed by God with different bents and abilities for our contribution in the world. We are fit well for a particular kind of work, and as good vocational stewards we should seek out a good fit if at all possible. Second, we must remember like Bezalel we, too, are supernaturally empowered for the work God has called us to do. I find it interesting and instructive that Bezalel is the first person in the Old Testament who is filled with the Spirit, and it is in the context of accomplishing his vocational calling. Often we think of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as transforming us into greater Christlikeness and empowering us for witnessing to others, but do we grasp that the Spirit is also aimed at empowering us to do our work well? The Apostle Paul exhorts us to walk in the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit means we are to work in the Spirit. Wherever God has you today, remember God has designed and called you to contribute. He has also given you supernatural empowerment for your work. Work in the Spirit.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are you facing a difficult decision in your work? Are you dealing with a difficult boss or fellow employee? Are you wrestling with how to solve a vexing problem or how to do your work better? Are you feeling stressed about a looming project deadline? Will you in humble trust look to the Spirit to give you guidance, wisdom, and empowerment? Will you work in the Spirit?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for creating me with gifts and abilities to contribute to the world in and through my work. Holy Spirit, I confess that I often do my work in my own strength. Empower me this day with your Spirit. May the fruit of the Spirit be evident in all that I say and do today. Give me supernatural empowerment to be creative and innovative as well as to be steadfast in difficulties and stress. Lord Jesus, may I do the work you have designed, gifted, and empowered me to do excellently for your glory and the advancement of the common good. Amen.
P.S. From Mark Roberts: Tom is senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas. He is the author of several books, including one of the finest books I have ever read on faith and work, Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. Tom, whom I have had the privilege of meeting at Laity Lodge, is a man of deep faith and wisdom. I'm delighted to welcome him as this week's "guest reflector," and I commend his reflections to you with enthusiasm. - Mark Roberts
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.