Thursday, May 14, 2015

Anointed Skills

3 Things You Should Know About Your Skills and Talents God Has Given You. 

This blog post addresses our natural talents and abilities as gifts from God to be used for His purposes. Because our skills and talents are not random occurrences in our lives but are purposely given by God, we are expected to be good stewards of them. Our talents are not for our own desires but are to be used for God’s glory. They are not to be used as a benefit to ourselves or as a means to success. Our skills and talents are to be used in obedience to God’s command to live for His mission.

Exodus 31:1-11 
31 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur,of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 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 crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— the table and its articles, the pure gold lamp-stand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”

* So the question to ask after reading this passage in Exodus, Is how does God equip us to accomplish all that He desires and commands us to do? God’s command to construct the Tabernacle while His people wandered in the wilderness must have been overwhelming. However, the Tabernacle wasn’t just any old tent. It represented God’s very presence with His people. He was the one who would equip and empower His people to accomplish His work. Think of it this way - What if you and all of your friends and family were planning on going on an extended vacation to South America. On your flight down, however, the plane crashes in the middle of the jungle. Everyone survives, but there is no way to get word out about what’s happened. How equipped would you all be to survive? This situation would be daunting, to say the least. What if you had someone guiding you the entire time and who equipped you with exactly what you needed? That’s how God provided for the Israelites, and it’s the same way that He provides for us when He calls us.

1)  God blesses each of us with specific skills and talents as well as His presence (Ex. 31:1–5). 

Through Moses, God commanded His people to construct the Tabernacle, a large tent that would serve as the place of worship and the dwelling place of God during the years in which the Israelites wandered through the wilderness and before the permanent Temple was built. There were obviously a lot of construction details involved in accomplishing this task. However, God had thought of everything. He enabled the Israelites to be able to construct the Tabernacle according to His instructions. He equipped individuals with specific skills and talents, such as with Bezalel, whom He gifted with the ability and intelligence to use numerous craftsman skills. But God also didn’t leave Bezalel to do the work on his own: God gave His very presence. Have you ever watched any survival shows on TV—shows like Survivor-man or Man Vs. Wild? The idea is for a host like Bear Grylls to put himself in impossible situations with little to no resources so that he can demonstrate how to survive. Of course, the thinking is that through this demonstration you might pick up a few hints for yourself in case you ever need them. The information is helpful for sure, but if ever in a real survival situation, it would be even better to have Bear Grylls himself.  Each of us has skills and talents that seem like natural abilities we were born with. We might have been born with an inclination toward performing these tasks well, but we didn’t receive these skills randomly. God has blessed each of us with specific skills and talents that He desires for us to use for His glory. Then, on top of that, He grants us Himself. We have His Spirit with us to empower us to utilize those skills and talents for His glory.

2)  God grants us help from others (Ex. 31:6a).

Building the Tabernacle was quite an involved task. But God did not intend for one man to do it all. God equipped Bezalel, but He also equipped Oholiab and many other men with skills and talents of their own so that they could assist Bezalel and fulfill God’s command together. Anybody a NBA Fan? LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are all extremely talented basketball players by themselves. However, in July 2010, they had a unique idea. Each was a free agent and decided to join forces and play together for the same team with the intention of putting their individual skills together. Their idea was to help make a greater team by working together than by working on separate teams. No matter how amazingly gifted we are, each of us has a limit. We can only go so far and accomplish so much by ourselves. God did not create us to live in a vacuum, however. He made us to live in community with others. When we combine our efforts and gifts with the efforts and gifts of others, we can accomplish all that God desires of us.

3)  God calls each of us to use our skills and talents to accomplish His commands (Ex. 31:6b–11). 

God listed for Moses some of the specific needs that the Tabernacle would require. Although not exhaustive, the list gave Moses a great overview of all the ways that God was providing for the construction of the Tabernacle. Moses could confidently move forward in obeying God’s command because of Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the others whom God had equipped. He had called and equipped all of them with His purpose in mind. He had gifted them individually and brought them together so that they could accomplish all that He commanded. Have you ever noticed that a group of average singers sounds way more incredible and powerful than any of them sound on their own? School choirs, church choirs, ensembles—they all sound better when the voices are mixed in with others. Even bad singers can sound good when they sing with a choir. When we all use our skills together, we can accomplish what God has called us to in a way that’s greater than if we tried it alone.  Of course, God knows what our skills are. In fact, He designed us to be good at the things in which we’re gifted. He has specific purposes for us to use those skills, and each purpose is important. See your skills for what they are—ordained by God for His purposes.

So what's the big idea of the passage?

God blesses all of us with skills and talents to use to accomplish His purposes. Building the Tabernacle was just one task that God desired for His people to accomplish. There were countless others, but this one serves as a wonderful example because of Moses, Bezalel, Oholiab, and many more men and women who were not named. God was with them all and empowered them to lead His people to worship Him together and to reflect on His very presence and glory.  God has a number of commands for all of us. Some of them are rather general. Others can be pretty specific. He has gifted each of us to play our part in accomplishing those commands in different ways. Think through some of the commands you know that He has given. How are you uniquely going to obey and fulfill them with your personal gifts and talents?


God has an appointed job for you. Every person has talents, skills and abilities entrusted to him or her by God. God desires that we use these skills as His stewards and make the best use of them. Your talents and skills are a major clue in discovering what He wants you to do in fulfilling His plan. What would you say are your two most important talents or abilities? If you have not yet identified your talents or skills, ask yourself, “What two things do I enjoy doing for others?” Your answer will be a clue as to what talents and abilities you possess.
What about the people you do life with? What have you observed are their gifts and talents? Let them know what you’ve observed because it’s likely that they don’t know what God is laying before them as a task in His wonderful tapestry of salvation work. Allow the Holy Spirit to use you in leading, molding, and equipping your students to be used of God.

Small Group Questions:

  • What fears keep you from living out the talents and abilities that you have been given?
  • How have others offered affirmation of your gifts and talents or skills? In what ways does this encourage you?
  • In what ways do you work to include others in projects in which your skills and talents can be used? How does teamwork enhance your abilities?
  • Have you ever thought that God wants to use your talents for His purposes? How could you use your gifts for Him?

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