Inspiration for Handicraft
Exodus 35:30-34
And Moses said to the children of Israel, See, the LORD has called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur…

No nobler thought of God, no more welcome gospel, after an assurance of purifying grace, has been uttered than this which these verses hold. Fallacious and fatal is the thought that a man can live a divided life. Hopeless is his struggle to "serve two masters." And surely few heresies have done so much damage to religion as that which would lead a man to think that the things which necessarily occupy a large proportion of his time and energy are matters of no concern to the God who claims his worship, and that to Him the toil of the industrious, the genius of the skilful, the patience of the earnest, with all the products of such life's endeavour, are things of no moment, lying outside the region of His care and cognizance. Honour to the soul that rises in revolt against an injustice to God and man! I meet with men who are troubled by this misconception; men who need, as we all need, help from God day by day, and all day long; men who, if their industry cannot be brought within the sphere of their religion, feel that they must be irreligious, or at all events unreligious for the greater part of their life. Let me try to win such men from their mistake by setting before them this truth of God. Do you not feel how full-charged this truth is with the power of quickening and redeeming grace? Do you not feel how all-inclusive this truth is, how it touches every man, and makes his whole self worthy, how it touches the whole of the man, and leaves nothing of him outside of Divine help, nothing of him undignified by Divine overruling? Let us put the truth into plain words, and look it straight in the face — power of hand and brain is of God and for God. It has a comely aspect, significant of hope, voiceful with strenuous incentive, calm with conscious triumph. We are brought just back to this simple, ancient way of putting the fact, after all the revelations and imaginations concerning species and development, which have been given to the world. Genius may be largely hereditary, special capacities may be cultured and developed. But who planned the conditions and the laws? It is interesting to discover method; but method is not cause. Knowledge of the means through which anything is done is not the same as a knowledge of that by which the thing is done. I don't know, I don't believe that any one wants to try to prove atheism. But we might almost as well doubt the very existence of our God as fail to reap the great harvest of privilege which springs from this great seed truth, "in Him we live and move and have our being." Oh, if all the thinkers and workers in the world, our fellows and associates in the office and the warehouse, in the factory and in the foundry, could be brought to feel this, what a power for good would grow! If men and women went into each day's toil with not a vague, shadowy idea, but a great and vivid conviction that the strength, the skill, the ingenuity, power of adroit and delicate touch, power of fanciful and beautiful designing, strength to sling the hammer and make the anvil ring, delicacy, deftness, knack, that indescribable way of doing just the right thing at the right time, which is so marvellous to watch — that all this is a Divine gift bearing the seal of the Most High God, the pledge of His thought and care and love, a holy trust to be used for Him — would not such a conviction be as good as it was great, as redemptive as it was real? It makes all the difference between drudgery and duty, between toil and work. It changes hard labour, recompensed by coin of the realm by which a man's debts are paid and his needs met, into an exultant exercise of power, recompensed by the approval of a conscience void of offence, recompensed more gloriously by the approval of the Master who was once Himself a workman and is eternally a worker: "Well done, good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." I appeal to those who listen to me to get rid of the fallacy and to get hold of the fact. The call to labour is a summons to high privilege. The inspiration to true labour has its origin in God. Take the truth with you tomorrow, friend, and it will lift your life out of its monotony and rid it of any aspect of dreariness. It will put a soul into what has, perhaps, been a lifeless thing. It will send a glow to you through what, perhaps, hitherto has chilled your very heart. It was the Lord God who put wisdom and understanding into every wise-hearted man "to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary," and He, the Lord, is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." This brings me naturally to the emphasizing of another point illustrated here: that the power, the disposition to use the skill is also a Divine gift. I say use, for misuse and abuse are of a man's own selfishness. Often do we hear the question, "What will he do with it?" Now I imagine that a man who has felt the pressure of the solemn fact of which I have spoken, namely, that power of hand and brain is of and for God, will be found looking for this second fact — that power to use the skill is also a gift from Him. If I discover that I am in possession of some precious thing which has come to me from God, the natural and immediate impulse will be to look to Him for guidance and power in the use of it. I am anxious not to misuse it. I fear to make a mistake. A man makes a sorry bargain who sells himself for money or for the passing gratification of his senses. Yet men have been tempted to abuse their skill, intelligence, strength, by the doing of a deed, one result of which was the enabling them to say, "That pile of gold is mine," a saying which could only be true for a time, and another result of which was the withering and maiming of their very soul. I believe in the possibility of consecrating all endeavour. I believe that daily labour in any man's lawful calling may be ennobled with the grandeur of Divine service. If, then, you and I feel gracious influences and powers leading and qualifying us to use our force and skill in this highest way, "not with eye-service as men-pleasers," but with "singleness of heart" as reverencing God, thankfully may we recognize the influence as His influence, the power as His power, the grace as His grace. Mental endowment and power of speech, physical endowment and power of handicraft, are high gifts, and the generosity is meant for good.

(D. Jones Hamer.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

WEB: Moses said to the children of Israel, "Behold, Yahweh has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.

Consecrated Ability
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