Best of Daily Reflections: Spiritual Gifts and Art

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.”

Exodus 31:2-3

In previous chapters of Exodus, the Lord had revealed in great detail the design of the Tabernacle, its sacred implements, and the garments for the priests. Each of these items was to be made from the finest materials possible and decorated with artistic excellence. Thus, we should not be surprised that the God who cares so much about the construction and elegance of the Tabernacle would also designate specifically its primary craftsmen.

At the top of God’s list was Bezalel, whom God identified according to his family and tribe, as was common in that day (31:2). God chose Bezalel for this crucial task because, he explained, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts” (31:3). Given the fact that God’s Spirit was generally reserved in the time of the Old Testament for spiritual and political leaders (prophets, priests, kings), we may be surprised by the impact of the Spirit in Bezalel’s life. He was gifted by God’s Spirit, not to prophesy, teach, or rule, but rather to create works of art with precious metals, wood, and gemstones.

To be sure, engraving and carving don’t appear in the New Testament lists of spiritual gifts. But those lists were never meant to be exhaustive, only suggestive. The example of Bezalel makes clear that the Spirit of God can indeed gift someone for excellence in the arts just as readily as for excellence in preaching. All of our talents and abilities are, in the final analysis, gifts of God to be used for his purposes and glory. Some of us will preach sermons or write Daily Reflections. Some of us will create works of artistic beauty. Others of us will plant restful gardens or bake delicious cakes. Still others of us will raise children, teach elementary school, surgically remove cancerous tumors, or lead city council meetings. For these and countless other tasks, God has and will gift us so that we might honor him and serve others with excellence.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What are the gifts God has given you? (Note: Every single human being has been gifted by God!) How have you used these gifts in his service, broadly defined? How might God be calling you to use your gifts in his service in the future?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the example of Bezalel. What you said about him reminds me of how you gift your people, not only for “religious” tasks, but for all sorts of good works in this world. We are, indeed, your masterpiece, created anew in Christ so we can do the good things you have planned for us (Eph. 2:10).

So often, Lord, we have focused only on those gifts that most immediately relate to ministry in the church, gifts of preaching and teaching, of prophecy and leadership. These are wonderful gifts, indeed. Yet we have often neglected or even denigrated other gifts, including those you showered upon Bezalel. Forgive us, Lord, for being so short-sighted and narrow-minded.

I am encouraged, Lord, at the recovery in your church of a delight in art and support for artists. May this continue, so that your people might fill this world with beauty that reflects you, with signs pointing to your grandeur and mystery. Moreover, may your church come to value all the gifts and all the talents of your people, so that we might live fully for you, not just in our life together, but also as we live in the world for your purposes. Amen.