I’m still reading through Exodus, and came across a passage this morning that gave me pause for thought. It is in Exodus 36 where Moses is instructing the Israelites on how to build the Tabernacle, a complicated building project that required some skill.
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. 36 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”
What stood out was v34. Not only did God empower them with the Spirit to give them gifts of craftsmanship, but also with the ability to teach others.
I think a serious temptation for those of us in ministry, whether that is full-time, or in a volunteer capacity, is that we so enjoy the work of ministry, that we keep it to ourselves. In this context, it was not enough for Bazalel and Oholiab to be blessed with skill – they were also blessed with the ability to pass it on.
There are so many advantages to this model. Among them:
– you are delivered from the belief that you are the only one who can do this ministry
– others are equipped, discover and develop their spiritual gifts, and become increasingly effective in the kingdom of God
– in business terms, it’s a scalable model. If everyone who has a ministry skill passes it on to others, then there is no ceiling. The compass of the ministry can keep on growing.
I think many pastors, and others involved in full-time ministry could do with re-reading Ephesians 4:11-13:
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
“To equip his people for works of service.” That is equally as important as exercising the ministry that is our gifting.
Over the last few weeks, in anticipation of my move to San Jose, I have spent time with one individual in Tampa, honing his skills on preaching. Over the years I have picked up a few tips and techniques, and it has truly been a pleasure to pass those on. Here in San Jose I will also be on the lookout for potential “apprentices” that I can help to equip in some way.
My prayer is that God will bless my teaching and preaching, but that also, he will bless my attempts to teach others in the same craft.
How has God gifted you? What is it that you do, that you could teach someone else, and in doing so, bless both them and the kingdom? Ask God to reveal that to you – and then get busy – pass it on!