I am off to Israel and Rome on Tuesday with a group of 36 people, and I am going to take a break from writing a Memo until Monday, May 14. If you go through withdrawal, you can always go to the Monday Memo site and read through the archives. With 853 Memos there, I think you will find something of interest there to hold you until I return.
This week, I want to talk about a gifted artist who was anointed by God to do magnificent work, but whose art was created not for the masses but for the few. His name was Bezalel and he is introduced to us in Exodus 31:1-11:
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 lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand—and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”
Bezalel and his assistants were commissioned to handle all the creative designs for the tabernacle, for which God had given specific instructions for its construction, assembly and tear down, and worship activities therein. It seems that God wanted the very best artisans in Israel to work on His dwelling place, and filled the artists with His spirit to ensure quality work.
Why was God being so particular about the tabernacle? Obviously, He was using it as a teaching lesson that He had specific requirements when it came to worship and approaching Him. Today, we realize that He was preparing hearts for the coming of His Son, who is the only way to God. The lesson for those who were working on the tabernacle decor and construction was that their gifts were given to them by God and were to be used for God.
When you think of it, those gifted, Spirit-inspired artists were creating some masterpieces that would only be seen by a few people, those being the priests who were to handle the tabernacle worship. The Holy of Holies that contained the ark of the covenant was only seen by the high priest, so in essence, those men were doing work that would seen by few living creatures.
The lesson here is that those artists were commissioned to do superb work that would only be seen by a few eyes. They had spent their entire lives preparing for that moment, and God wanted the fruit of their gifts and lifelong preparation to be for His eyes only. What's more, creativity for those men was not something they did as a hobby or when they had time. It was their full-time endeavor and they had perfected their skill, with God's help, so that they could be called on for a special project that required the best in their field.
All of us who create hope that our work will be enjoyed by many people, perhaps some even parting with their hard-earned cash to take our art home to enjoy beyond the moment they first behold it. Whether they do or not is not the point, however, for we create because God created and gifted us to create, and we produce our projects to display what God has made us to make. If those projects lead to critical acclaim and fame, so be it. If they are for the eyes of a few, so be it as well.
When you create, do you see it as a responsibility to steward the gifts God has given you? Are you paralyzed by fear that "no one" will like it or buy it or appreciate it? If you are not flowing in your creativity, I urge you to consider the example of Bezalel and company who were commissioned to do work destined to be seen by very few, but who had the satisfaction of knowing that God was pleased and would behold their handiwork in the context of worship that He had required. I am happy to produce for His eyes only, and I invite you to join me as we worship the Lord through the work of our hands. Have a blessed three weeks till I am back again!