Skilled and Willing
(Exodus 35 - 38)
Moses and the Offering to Build the First Tabernacle
Public Domain Clip-Art
Today’s reading details the collection of the materials, recruitment of workers and construction of the Lord’s Tabernacle. Moses instructs the people exactly as God has instructed him.
Amid the intricate delineation of the project, a few phrases seem to leap off the page, as they are repeated so frequently. How many times (particularly in Exodus 35) can you find these phrases?
“all who were willing”
“the Lord has given skill and ability”
Of course, the phrases may appear in slightly different wordings, depending on the Bible translation you are using. But the twofold emphasis is clear.
Who is willing?
God has no staffing problems. With tens of thousands of heavenly hosts at His call, the Lord could certainly accomplish His work on earth without enlisting human aid. Still, He allows men and women to participate in His plan.
What is the primary prerequisite for serving the Lord? All He requires is a willing heart. Where does one obtain a willing heart? A truly pure and willing heart comes only from the Lord.
David prayed this way:
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
and make me willing to obey You.”
David also asked the Lord to make his heart pure and willing, so he could honor the Lord in truth:
“Accept, O Lord,
the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me Your laws.”
Millenia later, the Apostle Peter urged leaders to serve willingly as well, so that their service would please the Lord:
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you.
Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly –
not for what you will get out of it,
but because you are eager to serve God.”
Could it be, once again, that our attitudes are worth more to God than our actions?
Who has skill?
Throughout the building of the Lord’s Tabernacle, various skilled artisans and other workers were called to participate. Foremost in the process was the recognition that their talents and abilities, both creative and constructive, were God-given.
Once we are able to recognize that our skills and talents, our abilities and assets, come directly from the Lord, how can we not be willing to use them in His service?
Who has more than enough?
Moses encountered an astonishing dilemma, once the people caught the fever of freewill offerings of their time, talents and treasures to the Lord. The coffers overflowed with surplus resources.
In fact, Moses had to order the people to stop giving.
What would happen in our churches, our ministries and our communities, if willing hearts were unleashed in full force? What might be accomplished?
What would the world say, if ministry leaders had to instruct people that the accounts were overflowing, and folks were to stop giving? Can you just imagine?
Will you pray with me?
You hold the keys to the universe.
You are in need of nothing.
But how we need You.
How blessed we are
That You are willing to include us
In Your work on earth.
Enlarge our hearts,
And remind us to be willing
When You call us
And to obey Your leading.
Only You are worthy.