After reading through Exodus 35 I was presented with a profound question:
“What is my uniqueness?”
After some self-reflection I came to the conclusion that conformity is a lot more integrated into my thinking than I realized. After walking with God for nearly a year now I’ve seen various directions people have taken and suggestions as well as some societal boundaries among the body of believers. I realized that some of us have trouble trying to define what is “spiritual” or “secular” or identifying what service unto God vs. service unto the world looks like. It’s uncomfortable, even awkward at times and it can lead people to conforming even unconsciously to “fit in” to the flow of things. I’ve noticed that certain aspirations can be thought of as “higher callings” while others that aren’t as in the limelight are overlooked. What Exodus 35 tells me is that God pays close attention to detail and that every individual piece matters.
10 “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases;
Exodus 35: 11-12 (NIV)
In the beginning of my walk with Christ I bought in to a lot of super-imposed goals that many fellow believers aspired to. I thought I was called to be a pastor, a worship leader, a missionary and a youth leader all in one and I dove in; I disregarded what my heart was telling me and convinced myself into thinking that I desired all these things outside of my own expertise or ability. In Exodus 35 Moses is describing to the Israelite community the lengthy and detailed instructions to build the Tabernacle and how God required “all who are skilled among you” to “make everything The Lord has commanded…” This had to have been speaking to the hearts of those who were comfortable with who they were–those who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt their God-given strengths and abilities.
I asked myself, “Would I be among them?” “Would I be someone who knew what I could uniquely offer to God?” And I can honestly say that I don’t fully know, which is scary.
Who was God looking to to build His holy place in the Old Testament, arguably the single most important construction in human history? “All who are skilled among you,” or in other words to those who knew their purpose.
I think I have experienced an identity crisis in the body of Christ and that is no one else’s fault but my own and God has been dealing with me in this regard ever since. What I discovered is that I simply listened to what everyone else said about me and not to what God has said about me all along.
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.
Exodus 35: 30-35 (NIV)
What I have learned is that from the smallest components to the largest, most integral pieces, God needs all of us and all that we can offer. Don’t be afraid of your uniqueness, own it. If your strength is in sewing, cooking, painting or making lattes, do it with boldness and with the grace of God behind you, knowing that you are fulfilling a purpose in His kingdom and you are an important part of His plan.
What is in you that God wants you to recognize for His sake?
What unique skills and abilities has God blessed you with for the purpose of His glory?
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:15-20 & 27 (NIV)